By providing the right conditions, there are vegetable seeds you can sow in the middle of winter.
To boost your chances of success, consider investing in a heated propagator. If sowing in a greenhouse, ensure it’s well-insulated and consider using a heater to stop the temperature from dropping too low.
The added benefit of winter sowing is that you’ll get a much better succession of harvests later on, compared to the fewer you’d get from spring sowings.
Discover five vegetable seeds to sow in December, below.
Try sowing broad beans in December for an early crop of tasty beans. You can sow them outdoors under cloches, but be sure to provide them with protection from mice, birds and squirrels.
Broad bean seeds held in muddy hands
Onions and garlic
Some varieties of onions, such as ‘Setton’, can be sown under glass in January and February, to provide harvests from late summer. However, you can sow in December to give them a head start, resulting in bigger bulbs. Viable garlic seeds are tricky to source, but you can plant young bulbs outdoors. Traditionally this is done on the shortest day of the year, usually 21st December.
Certain lettuce cultivars, such as ‘Winter Gem’, have been specially bred for their ability to grow at low temperatures and provide a harvest. Sow in an unheated greenhouse or a cold frame.
Lettuce ‘Winter Gem’ growing in a steel pan on a greenhouse shelf
Lamb’s lettuce, also called corn salad, has been grown and eaten for centuries in the winter months. Simply sow the seeds in an unheated greenhouse, and enjoy the freshly picked leaves soon after.
Lamb’s lettuce/corn salad growing in a row
Mustard greens can be sown in the greenhouse, or on the windowsill throughout winter. The young salad leaves can be used to pep up dishes like soups, salads and stir fries.
Mustard greens growing in individual pots in a cold frame
Microgreens are the seedlings of leafy herbs and plants that we’d usually allow to grow to full size before harvesting. They can be sown and grown year round and all have the flavour of the fully grown plant. Take a look at 10 microgreens to grow and how to grow microgreens.
Harvesting microgreens with scissors