At this time of year, when you are harvesting in earnest, you might wonder if you can put your now-empty beds to some use. With the summer vegetables being harvested and winter vegetables on their way to maturity you might think there’s not much you can start off right now. But actually there’s plenty that can be sown at the end of summer and on into the autumn.
- It’s shallow, so it doesn’t use so much compost = economical;
- Because it’s shallow, it’s easier to slide out the seedlings in one piece. The long smooth semi-circular shape fits neatly into a shallow trench as well. You don’t need to dig out and then in again;
- This is important because pea seedlings don’t really like to be disturbed and are easily flattened;
- The seedlings get a good head start before the pea weevils start eating U-shaped notches in the leaves.
The peas are hardy and shouldn’t need protection from frost, but if we have a very cold winter, it will do no harm and will help them if you throw horticultural fleece over the seedlings to insulate them. Don’t expect too much in the way of growth over the winter: it’s when the weather warms up in March (maybe even February) that they will start to put on growth and be ready early.
This is a traditional way to grow new potatoes: planting them in late summer, ready to harvest on Christmas morning so that you have freshly dug new potatoes with your Christmas dinner. It sounds almost romantic, doesn’t it?