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Activities Gardening



The warmer months are typically reserved for spending time in the garden, but with plenty that can still be sown and grown during autumn, the UK’s leading garden centre retailer, Dobbies, is on a mission to help keep us inspired.

With endless benefits, growing your own has become even more popular this year. Supporting the campaign by the Horticultural Trades Association to #KeepBritainGrowing, Dobbies’ Horticultural Director, Marcus Eyles, shares advice on what can be planted this autumn, both indoors and out.

Growing your own produce has endless benefits and there are a number of fruit and veg that don’t require much space at all, sitting happily in pots and containers on patios or in windowsills.

With the colder weather setting in, sun loving herbs like Basil, Dill, Chives and Parsley can be grown inside, meaning a fresh supply of home-grown herbs for winter soups and stews. Place in a sunny window, give them plenty of water and you’ll soon be reaping the benefits of your very own indoor kitchen garden. Greenery is also a quick way to refresh a kitchen shelf of empty windowsill.

Outside, there’s still plenty you can plant now to give your plot a head start next spring. Vegetables to start growing at this time include tasty onions, delicious garlic and zingy rhubarb – plant them all now to guarantee a bumper, early crop next spring. Another vegetable to get established over the winter months is certain varieties of broad beans.

GYO, what to get planting now:  

 Broad beans – one of the easiest veggies to grow as the seeds are big and easy to handle. You don’t need any special kit either – just a bare patch of earth is all that’s needed to get a crop underway. Broad Bean ‘Aquadulce Claudia’ seeds sown in October or November will form sturdy plants before the cold of winter sets in, meaning they will be ahead of those sown in spring. The seedlings will survive the winter, grow as temperatures rise and produce an early-summer harvest. Sow two rows quite close to each other, around 20cm, the plants will support each other as they grow. These would need to be protected and work best in a more sheltered, southern garden.

  • Garlic is easy to grow in the garden and autumn is the best time to get planting, October is ideal. Garlic needs very little water, so don’t worry if conditions are dry. In fact, too much water can cause bulbs to rot. Planting garlic in October will produce the largest cloves next year. Add grit to the bottom of planting holes if you have very soggy or claggy soil – this will stop cloves rotting. Separate bulbs into cloves and plant them in rows in the sunniest spot you have. They should be ready to dig up in July. Don’t worry if you haven’t any room in the ground – it will do perfectly well in a container, meaning you can grow it on a patio.
  • Onions – look out for autumn onion sets, which get established over the winter months. Plant now for a guaranteed crop in June. Onions have a long growing season and will require very little maintenance, looking after themselves over the colder months.
  • Peas – there is a delicious variety of pea called ‘Meteor’ that’s hardy enough to sow outdoors now. They will establish well over the winter and give you a tasty first early crop next year.
  • Lettuce – for a super early picking of lettuce next year then sow the ‘Arctic King’ variety in October and you’ll have fresh salad leaves straight from your garden in spring.

GYO kitchen inspiration:  

  • Blitz fresh beans in a blender and combine with grated parmesan and olive oil – delicious spread on chunky homemade bread.
  • Garlic is one of the most versatile ingredients around, adding a delicious flavour to roasts, sauces, casseroles and more.

GYO Kitchen herb garden –  


For more expert growing and seasonal advice, listen to the Dobbies’ podcast: dobbies.com/content/podcast.html