Sowing Guide

Sonairte Year-Round Sowing Guide

by Kathryn Marsh

Monthly sowing and harvesting in Leinster – click the month heading to see what we sow each month!

Anything marked with a star* should be sown in pinches every couple of weeks from first mention until late summer

We’ll keep updating this page so check back regularly!

Garden:  Winter lettuce, round seeded peas (protect from mice)

Polytunnel:Winter lettuce, early peas, onions, oriental greens*, land cress*, garlic, early potatoes (with frost protection), broad beans

Garden: round seeded peas (protect from mice), soft neck garlic, shallots

Polytunnel: round seeded peas, mange touts, broad beans, winter lettuce, oriental greens, land cress, lambs lettuce, purslane, onions, early carrots

Using a heat mat or propagator: tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, chillis, aubergines, ground cherries (physalis), achocha, okra, early summer cabbage (red and white) for outdoor transplant, kale, kohl rabi, cauliflower, broccoli, summer purple sprouting broccoli, chard, spinach, summer lettuce, summer endive, onions and scallions in modules, beetroot in modules

Garden: round seeded peas, mangetouts, hardy broad beans (Aquadulce, Witkeim), radishes*, rocket*, cress*, lettuce&, endives*, summer cabbage, chard, leaf beet, bulbing onions, scallions*, beetroot, white turnips, parsnips, soft neck garlic, shallots, onion sets, early potatoes (with protection)

Polytunnel beds: summer salads, dwarf french beans (with frost protection), coriander, chervil, parsley, dill, fennel (herb), lovage, white turnips, beetroot, spinach, early carrots

Using a heat mat or propagator:  tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, chillis, aubergines, ground cherries, achocha, okra, celery, celeriac, parsley

Garden: early maincrop peas, mangetouts, broad beans, summer cabbage, early autumn cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, summer sprouting broccoli, broccoli, cauliflower, kohl rabi, swedes, beetroot, white turnips, parsnips, all summer salads, Hamburg (root) parsley, chard, leaf beet, New Zealand spinach, Good King Henry, all potatoes

Polytunnel beds: as first half of March

Polytunnel modules: artichokes, asparagus, leeks, onions

Using a heat mat or propagator: as first half of March, basil, courgettes, cucumbers, melons, cucamelons, alpine strawberries

Transplant: brassicas and salads to garden, tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, celery, celeriac, herbs, salads etc to polytunnel when big enough (protect with fleece on cold nights), bought in strawberry plants

Garden: maincrop peas, mangetouts, late broad beans, all winter brassicas, leeks, parsnips, all summer salads, all beets, spinach and chard, parsley, root parsley, chervil, scallions, coriander, parsnips, all potatoes

Transplant: brassicas, chard and other hardy plants to garden

Polytunnel: dwarf and climbing French beans, soya beans (for drying or edamame) and drying beans

Transplant: all solanums and cucurbits, with protection in polytunnel

Using a heat mat or propagator: sow courgettes, cucumbers, melons, squashes, pumpkins, sweet corn, runner beans, basil, dwarf and climbing French beans, drying beans, runner beans

Remember that there are often hard frosts in mid-May! Do not sow or transplant tender crops until after this.

Garden: maincrop potatoes, parsnips, all winter brassicas, leeks, all summer salads, all beets, spinach and chard, all herbs, chicory and endives, broad beans and peas, summer turnips. After last frost sow courgettes, marrows, sweetcorn, pumpkins, squashes, French and runner beans, edemama,  and transplant basil, coriander, tomatoes, peppers etc to warm parts of the garden

Transplant: artichokes, asparagus, alpine strawberries and all other indoor sown hardy vegetables and herbs

Polytunnel: basil, coriander, Thai basil, lemon grass. Make last indoor sowings of courgettes and squashes.

Garden: all french and runner beans, dwarf peas and mangetouts, carrots, beetroot, turnips, late winter leeks, sweetcorn, chard and spinach, leaf beet. After solstice sow bulbing fennel, Chinese cabbage, Daikon, pak choi and other oriental greens that tend to bolt if sown earlier.

Don’t forget to keep sowing salads.

Transplant: all remaining tender vegetables

Garden: dwarf French beans, early peas and mangetouts, carrots, beetroot, white turnips, Daikon and other Asian radishes, chard and leaf beet, all summer salads, bulb fennel, Chinese cabbage, Asian greens. Last sowing of broccoli

Continue to transplant brassicas and leeks

Garden: Spring cabbage, spring greens, white turnips, chard and leaf beet, beetroot, winter varieties of spinach, bulb fennel, lambs lettuce, land cress, Daikon, Chinese cabbage, spring onions, summer sowing onions (seed and sets), early potatoes (with protection) for Christmas eating, winter lettuce

Polytunnel: As summer crops finish fill in with: chard, beetroot, winter spinach, bulb fennel, lambs lettuce, land cress, Chinese cabbage, scallions, early potatoes, winter lettuce, oriental greens, coriander, parsley, chervil, early carrots, early mangetouts, Daikon, broccoli raab

Garden: Spring cabbage, bunching onions, early carrots.

As summer crops cleared sow as for August. If there is extra space sow an overwintering Green manure to protect the surface and feed next year’s crop. Avoid rye in this area – it grows too well and can be hard to kill so takes over. Field beans and winter tares do well.

Polytunnel: as for August. Fill in any spaces with winter salads, chard, and kale, Winter salads, Chinese cabbage, bunching onions, radish, white turnips, Japanese mustards, pak choi etc, broccoli raab, quick heading broccoli

Garden: In mild areas try round seeded peas, hardy (Aquadulce) and crimson flowered broad beans, hard neck garlic – all to overwinter

Polytunnel: Aquadulce and crimson flowered broad beans, hard neck garlic

Garden: If soil still warm hardy broad beans

Polytunnel: Broad beans and garlic

You didn’t think we’d let you off for Christmas did you?

We like to sow onions and shallots on St Stephen’s Day in the greenhouse. Traditionally you should sow on the shortest day and harvest on the longest but we are always too busy on the solstice

Jerusalem artichokes: plant tubers from March onwards

Chinese artichokes: plant tubers from April onwards

Huazontle: an amazing Chenopodium that produces masses and masses clusters of flower buds for weeks on end that we like best dipped into a spicy chick pea batter and deep fried, bhaji style. It has an almost meaty texture.

Salsify: long white roots to slice and cook in butter – known as vegetable oyster

Scorzonera: equally long black roots cooked the same way – you’ll find it in Polish and Russian shops

Asturian cabbage: an absolutely enormous cabbage with tender leaves that you just pick a few. It is amazing in bean stews

Cutting celery: This is much easier to grow than ordinary celery and substitutes for it in all the soups and stews where you want the flavour of celery but not necessarily the texture

Root chicory: cook it like carrots or parsnips – but you need to quarter it lengthways first and cut out the centre which is horribly bitter. One of those vegetables that are delicious but you wonder about all the people who experimented before they found out how to cook them

Oca: one of the amazing new vegetables coming to us from the Andes. Has a pretty trefoil leaf and white flowers, both of which are edible, but mostly grown for its two to three inch long white, orange or bright red tubers. Needs a warm spot because it doesn’t make the tubers until just before first frost. Does well in the polytunnel if you have spare space.

Turnips: yes, we’ve got them in the sowing charts but can we persuade you to actually try a few types. The problem is that here in Ireland we tend to call Swedes, known to Americans as rutabagas, turnips. Not the same thing at all. My children and grandchildren pretty much fight each other for them. Tender little white and purple topped ones in spring and early summer and yellow ones for summer and autumn. Do give them a try. The seed is usually very cheap because it’s so easy to produce.

Rat Tail Radish: You don’t use the roots of this one but the seed pods. It makes a huge bush but two plants is enough to feed the family. The pods can be several inches long. Pick them before they get tough for stir fries.

Sweet lupins: Pretty flowers followed by edible seeds. Most lupin seeds are not edible but these are edible and delicious.