What to Plant in Autumn
In autumn the temperatures are generally still pretty good during the day although the night and early mornings are certainly a little cooler, especially where I am in Canterbury.
There is still plenty you can sow from seed. All can be directly planted but it may be easier to plant in seed trays so you can keep an eye on them, watering them just enough to keep the planting mix damp and putting them in a sunny spot either in a greenhouse or on a windowsill or spare bedroom as the extra warmth will encourage growth. Once a decent size ie 6cm put the seed tray outside in a sheltered spot for a few days so they can acclimatise to the cooler temperature before planting out in your vegetable beds or pots.
Before planting your autumn vegetables, you must replenish the soil you are planting into as it has worked hard over spring and summer providing nutrients and moisture crops need to flourish and thus it is necessary to revitalise the soil before planting your autumn/winter crops. See 'Preparing Vegetable Beds' for in-depth detail but basically add new compost, plus some sheep pellets, chicken manure or blood and bone or all of them and water in well. Leave to settle for a few days before planting.
It is best to plant seedlings at this time of year; actually I think with brassicas (Cabbage, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Asian Greens and Kale, it the only way to plant. Seeds take approximately 6 weeks to grow from initial germination to a decent size seedling, so keep this in mind if you are planting from seed, think ahead and allow yourself plenty of time.
When planting out brassicas, give them enough room to grow. If you think of the size of a fully grown cabbage and keep that in mind when you are planting them out as seedlings.
Kale is a great autumn/winter crop as it can cope with the cold and frost which makes its flavour sweeter. It is a pretty reliable and resilient to its growing conditions and fantastic source of iron and is very high in vitamin C as well as calcium and other minerals. There are many varieties but I like to grow Cavolo Nero and Scotch Blue Kale, but check out the different varieties as there are many. The great thing about kale is you just pick away at the leaves and don't dig the whole plant up, so you can harvest as much or as little as you need.
Beetroot is a great vegetable to be planting as its so versatile, used in roasts, salads, soups and baking with interesting varieties to plant
Kale - Various varieties of kale my preference is Scotch Blue Kale and Carvalo Nero
Peas - Make sure they are suitable for cooler temperatures
Now is not the time to be planting Beans, Cucumber, Zucchini, Tomatoes & Peppers as they heat shakers and need hot temperatures and anyway somethings are worth waiting for!