Growing Vegetables, Month by Month

Finding it difficult to keep up with the allotment jobs every month? Here’s our monthly planner for growing vegetables on your patch.

January‐February

It’s time for a rest indoors – and, with seed catalogues arriving on the doormat, the pleasurable task of choosing your year’s crops with a hot cuppa. If you’re desperate to get your wellies on, here are a few jobs that can be done this month:

  • Sow celeriac, leeks, onions, or summer cauliflower in a heated propagator (but only if you won’t need the propagator for sweet peas in another month or two).
  • If you have raised beds, cover one or two with glass and start some early broad beans, salad, beetroot, radish, or peas.
  • Plant rhubarb crowns (ensuring that the soil is well‐drained – add grit if necessary).
  • Plant cloves of garlic (adding wood ash to the soil if you have any).
  • If the conditions are mild, sow broad beans, onions, parsnip, radish and spinach outdoors (checking the seed packet for suitability).
  • Plant Jerusalem artichokes (ideally in a fenced‐off area so they won’t spread year after year).
  • Chit your seed potatoes, when they arrive – a cool porch is ideal.

March‐April

Now the real work begins: you can start plenty of crops now, especially if you live in the milder South of England.

  • Sow aubergines, peppers, tomatoes and chillies in a heated propagator. In April, sow squashes, courgettes and cucumbers in there too.
  • If you have covered beds or a cold frame, start off beetroot, Brussels sprouts, autumn cauliflowers, celery, kale, and lettuce.
  • Sow direct: hardy broad beans, cabbage, lettuce, bunching onions, parsnip, peas, shallots, turnips, rocket, and summer spinach.
  • Plant summer cauliflowers.
  • Plant garlic and onion sets.
  • Plant out your chitted early and maincrop potatoes.
  • Pull any remaining root crops and leeks (and heel them in if you need to).

May‐June

By now, as the last frost date has passed, you can sow most crops.

  • Sow almost everything – from globe artichokes, beetroot and broad beans to lettuce, onions, root vegetables, spinach and salad – direct into the prepared beds.
  • Pot on the plants from your propagator (aubergine, squash, tomatoes and chillies). They can be planted out in June, preferably under glass to begin with.
  • Finish planting your seed potatoes.
  • Put pea sticks up for the emerging pea seedlings.
  • Earth up the first growth on your early seed potatoes.
  • Pinch out tomato side‐shoots and the tops of broad bean plants.

July‐August

This month you’ll start sowing crops for winter, but the main work is maintaining the crops you already have in the ground.

  • You can sow almost everything – from globe artichokes, beetroot and broad beans to lettuce, onions, root vegetables, spinach and salad – direct.
  • Thin out the rows of carrot, beetroot, spinach, turnip and swede.
  • Plant your seedlings: Brussels sprouts, cabbages, calabrese, cauliflowers, and leeks.
  • Weed everything, watching out for caterpillars and carrot fly. Look out for potato blight – if you see any, cut and burn the foliage to prevent it from reaching the potatoes.
  • Pull up garlic and shallots when their foliage flops over.

September ‐ December

Work begins to dwindle, but you’ll be enjoying a bounty of crops from autumn onwards. Put as much as you can into careful storage so that you’ll have homegrown vegetables for as long as possible.

  • Cover raised beds with glass, and sow broccoli, cauliflowers, saladini, pak choi, lettuce, spinach and radish beneath it.
  • In September, you can still sow spring cabbage, winter salad and radish direct in the ground for a few last crops before the frosts.
  • Plant out autumn onion sets and garlic.
  • In October or November, you can sow hardy broad beans and peas.
  • Harvest remaining leeks, carrots, beetroot and parsnip – root vegetables can be stored in crates of sand in a cool shed.

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