The autumn has brought with it a transformation in the Edible Gardening Project polytunnel. We have harvested the very last of the tender summer crops and replanted the space with hardy winter greens. This time of year is an opportunity to reflect on what worked well in the garden and which crops were less successful.
The cucumbers were very happy growing in the polytunnel and benefited from the extra protection it afforded. The sweetcorn was rather good, too. We grew some out in the garden and another batch under cover, with the latter being much more successful. Sweetcorn requires a long season and can be grown outside in Scotland in a sunny sheltered position. Our beds are not quite protected enough, especially given the wet, cool summer we have had this year. The polytunnel crop was sweet and juicy.
We have planted up the gaps with winter greens. These need to be sown in the summer months so that they germinate well and are big enough to withstand the cold winter weather. The crop includes some winter herbs – parsley, chervil and coriander can all see the winter through, especially with a little protection in a greenhouse or under a cloch.
The cold weather will prevent coriander from going to seed quite as quickly as it sometimes does in summer. The herbs will produce leaves throughout the season and are a welcome, fresh addition to winter cooking. Chervil is particularly lovely and has a tasty aniseed flavour.
While it is too late to germinate seeds for winter greens, you can pop a reminder in the diary for next year. If you are itching to get something done in the garden you can sow broad beans, but make sure you get them in this week.
• The Edible Gardening Project is based at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and teaches people the skills and knowledge they need to grow their own food. It is run jointly with the Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society. For more details please go to www.rbge.org.uk/ediblegardening. Follow the blog ediblegardeningproject.wordpress.com