Overwintering veg is a great choice for mild regions. You might lose a few plants to frosts and gales, but overall it's worth it to have vegetables available super early, in the 'hungry gap' (April to June) when the winter veg have run out and the summer veg are not quite ready. It also helps to avoid potential problems with cabbage white butterflies on cauliflowers and cabbages.
|What's left of the overwintering onions|
Sow the seeds around the middle of August and harvest from early May onwards. Growing onions from seed is a bit trickier than from sets, but seed packets are cheap enough to give it a try - just don't count on a high germination rate (though onion seeds seem to germinate better in the summer than in early spring).
Another veg to overwinter outside is broad beans. 'Aquadulce' is our overwintering variety of choice. Sow direct in November and harvest in June. We could harvest already but are just waiting for them to swell a little more.
|Hardy broad beans|
Indoors, in a greenhouse, conservatory or polytunnel, you can start the following in late autumn and plant out in March/April:
- Lettuce and other salad leaves
- Spring cabbage
A plant to try overwintering inside the house is chilli peppers. Again, not all varieties are suitable. I haven't had any success with it yet but will keep at it and try again this winter now that our house is warm!