Autumn is coming, but from chard to rocket or sorrel, it’s simple to keep tasty homegrown salad crops coming through winter
Once you’ve plucked your last tomato of the summer or pulled out your final runner bean, it’s easy to imagine that the containers they filled are going to look rather sad as they sit bare and empty on the frozen wastes of your patio or windowsill over winter.
But you don’t have to leave them that way. There are many leafy crops that grow well over the cooler months, adding colour and cheer to your balcony or patio. And these crops don’t just look good, they taste great too. The most tasty salads I’ve ever eaten have been grown in my containers in February and March. There’s something about slow winter growth that results in leaves that sing with flavour.
There are three simple secrets to success with winter container growing: choosing the right crops to grow; sowing the seeds earlier enough (now for many of them); and protecting your crops from the wind as much as you can.
I urge you to give it a go. Although harvests are smaller than in summer, it’s good for the soul to be able to pick a few fresh leaves on a dark, dank winter’s day. It has other benefits too: by growing you are helping to maintain a living soil in your pots – neglected pots are prone to dry out and can be hard to re-wet.