Make your greenhouse work in winter

Winter crop: Rocket Pegasus.
Winter crop: Rocket Pegasus.
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IT may seem sensible to clear up and clean out your greenhouse, conservatory, plant house, coldframe or kitchen windowsill in autumn and shut up shop until next year’s round of seed sowing begins.

It isn’t. No matter what you garden in or on under glass, there’s always something you can have on the go.

I tend to clean out the conservatory in autumn and late winter in case there’s any critters lurking that I missed the first time (there always is).

Here’s a couple of ideas to keep you growing:

Sow rocket in seed trays, or even topped up old growbags. This year I’m trying the cut-and-come-again variety Pegasus. It has a milder flavour than wild rocket, is slow to bolt, has bigger leaves, and is ideal on pizzas or in salads.

Sow peas in seed trays for their shoots. I’m using Twinkle, which should be ready to crop in three weeks, when the shoots are about five inches high. You are also supposed to get a second cutting from this one as well.

Pot up herbs you use all the time, such as tarragon. Don’t try and move parsley – it generally doesn’t like root disturbance. Buy pots of herbs from a nursery to keep you going.

Sow winter-hardy oriental salad mixes in pots or trays, or winter-hardy lettuce. I have some that’s still outside in terracotta troughs, but I suspect they will be better off inside soon.

I’ve sown winter-hardy spring onion White Lisbon under glass in November and while you won’t get an immediate crop, there will be enough to tide you over before clearing up again in spring.