Don’t miss out on winter veggies – grow them in pots.

Winter veggies need sun, and lots of it, as well as shelter from the elements. But if your garden is frosty or plunged into shade from May to August, you will need to make another plan.

And this is it: grow veggies in containers wherever there is a spot of sheltered sun. The veggies will be snug, and the family won’t miss out on all those vital vitamins that veggies deliver in winter.

Almost any veggie can be grown in a container, as long is the pot is big enough and drains well, the plants get plenty of sun, and they are watered almost daily, even in winter. Use a good-quality potting soil, not garden soil.

For hungry plants, like Swiss chard, lettuce, kale, broccoli and cabbage, it’s a good idea to feed with a liquid fertiliser like Margaret Roberts Organic Supercharger twice a month.

The easiest, most productive plants for containers are leafy greens, which includes kale. Kale is packed with vitamins K and C, and the colder it gets the sweeter its flavour.

Whoever came up with the name Kale ‘Dinosaur’ from RAW seeds was looking for a sneaky way to get the kids to eat their greens. The ruffled leaves certainly have a prehistoric look, but their flavour is sweeter and less bitter than other types of kale.

‘Dinosaur’ is an Italian heirloom vegetable, called ‘Cavolo Nero’ (black cabbage) in Italy. The plant produces long, narrow, blue-green leaves that grow from the base.

Space plants 50cm apart, as plants grow 90 – 100cm high and wide. Germination takes 10 – 20 days and the leaves can be harvested when they are 30cm long.

Kale leaves can be cooked whole, chopped or shredded, sautéed in olive oil with garlic and chilli, stewed in a broth, blanched or used as wrappers with a filling and baked.

Another irresistible veggie for kids, or the inner kid, is Carrot ‘Parisian’. Generally, we don’t recommend growing carrots in containers because of their long tap roots, but this heirloom carrot is different.It is small, sweet, round and very cute.

The shallow root system makes it ideal for poor soil conditions and for growing in containers. It is quick to harvest, within 50 – 70 days. Like all other carrots, it likes nutrient-poor soil, full sun and regular watering.

There are plenty of other gourmet RAW veggies to sow in containers in autumn.  

Baby broccoli, more formally known as Broccoli Raap ‘Spring Rapini’, grows like normal sprouting broccoli, but its leaves look like turnip greens. Both the sprouts and greens are eaten. Plants grow 50 – 60cm high and are harvested within 60 days of sowing.

Radicchio ‘Red Treviso’ has tender, slightly bitter leaves that add a tang to the salad bowl. The green heads turn deep red with white midribs once the weather cools. Plants grow 15 – 20cm high, and if the head is cut off carefully the plant will regrow and produce another head.

Radish ‘Watermelon’ looks like a micro-mini watermelon when cut in half. This heirloom veggie from China has white flesh and bright pink circles that darken to magenta. The flesh is crisp and firm with a mild flavour that has almond-sweet notes. It germinates quickly and the first radishes can be pulled within a month.

Pak choi, also known as bok choy, has soup-spoon like leaves that are crisp, tender and with a slight mustard zing. Chop or tear them into salads, add to stir-fries and any Asian-inspired dish.

RAW seeds are all heirloom and non-GMO varieties that have been selected for containers or small-space growing. 

Find our more: www.rawliving.co.za