Autumn Gardening: Plant now for a spring harvest
Date: 17 Sep 2020
We suggest plants and flowers you can sow now to reap a late harvest or enjoy in early spring.
September is peak harvest season, especially for root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. However, while farmers are busy digging up their crops, there are numerous plants you can sow in autumn to enjoy in late winter and early spring as September soil is still warm enough to keep seeds protected through colder weather.
Gardening is also a brilliantly engaging and tactile activity for children. Let them use their fingers to make small holes in the soil for seeds, and use their hands to cover them over. Autumn planting teaches children about a variety of vegetation and helps them to continue enjoying the outdoors as they go back to nursery or school after the summer.
Keeping everyone safe:
Bulbs can be harmful if eaten or swallowed. Keep a close eye on your little one and make sure the bulbs go into the ground only!
No gardening gloves needed – but do make sure they wash their hands thoroughly afterwards!
- Radishes – These only take a few weeks to mature, so plant these now to enjoy a late harvest
- Turnips – Plant these in cool, moist soil to harvest just in time for Christmas
- Broad beans – Hardy variations such as Aquadulce Claudia and The Sutton can survive cold snaps
- Spring onions – Plant White Lisbon and Performer varieties now to reap the rewards next spring
- Winter lettuce – Arctic King lettuce planted in autumn will be ready for spring salads
- Garlic – Plant any time between now and the first frost to enjoy in May-July next year
- Onions – Troy and Radar varieties can be planted now for an early summer harvest
Spring-flowering bulbs are best planted at this time of year for a colourful display next year.
- Snowdrops – These delicate white blooms pop up through frozen soil in January, well ahead of daffodils and bluebells, marking the very beginning of spring
- Crocus – These, too, will bloom in early spring
- Tulips - A multitude of colours and shapes are available
- Hyacinth - Most commonly found in shades of purple, pink and white
- Foxglove – This hardy flower does well even in shadier parts of the garden
Books to read and inspire your child:
- Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills, 1-4 years
A beautiful board book about two friends searching for their pumpkin
- Because of an Acorn by Lola M. Schaefer and Adam Schaefer, 3+ years
Illustrations explaining how everything in our ecosystem ties together
- The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle, 3+ years
Follow one seed’s journey to becoming a full-grown plant
- Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert, 3-5 years
Visual exploration of flowers you can plant with your child
Further gardening resources: