As the vibrant hues of summer fade into the cosy embrace of autumn, and the frost-kissed mornings of winter approach, there's a special kind of magic in the air for avid gardeners and food grower enthusiasts. While many may associate growing primarily with the warmer months, the cooler seasons offer a unique opportunity to continue cultivating fresh produce, extend the joys of growing year-round, or make extra profit as a market gardener.
To embark on a successful journey of growing food through autumn and winter, you'll need more than just your green thumbs and a little determination. As the temperatures drop and daylight dwindles, it's crucial to equip yourself with the right tools and supplies to nurture your crops and harvest a bountiful yield.
In this blog post, we'll take you through five essential tools and supplies that will not only help you embrace the changing seasons but also ensure a thriving and delicious harvest throughout autumn and winter.
Whether you're a seasoned grower or just beginning your green adventure, these must-haves will set you on the path to a fruitful and fulfilling growing experience. So, don your gloves, grab your autumn growing plans, and let's dive into the world of year-round food cultivation.
If you haven't seen our blog on "What to Sow Now for a Good Winter and Autumn Crop" then do check it out here: https://reagtools.co.uk/blogs/news/what-to-sow-now-for-a-good-autumn-and-winter-crop-in-your-market-garden
5 Tools and Supplies You Need for a Successful Autumn and Winter of Growing Food:
1.) Row Covers and Frost Protection Fleece - Row covers and frost fleece are lightweight, breathable fabrics that help insulate plants from the cold while allowing sunlight, air, and moisture to reach them. They are especially useful for protecting crops like lettuce, spinach, and kale from freezing temperatures.
Thermagro Ultra Frost Protection Fleece is a new product, which at 30gsm, is nearly twice the weight of standard fleece fabric. This makes it a stronger and more durable frost protection fabric.
Have a look at our crop protection range here: https://reagtools.co.uk/pages/plant-support-netting-fleece-membrane
2.) Handheld Pruners and Scissors:
Regular pruning and harvesting are essential for maintaining healthy winter crops. Handheld pruners and scissors allow you to trim dead or damaged foliage, encourage bushier growth, and harvest your produce without disturbing the rest of the plant.
We have never regretted getting a good set of hand pruners for each of our staff members on the market garden, it speeds things up, keeps the plants healthier (by cutting with sharp equipment you avoid damage to the plant), and save a lot of time.
Check out our range of pruning and cutting tools including secateurs, pruning scissors, shears, harvest knives and more: https://reagtools.co.uk/collections/pruning-cutting
3.) LED Grow Lights:
With limited natural sunlight during the winter months, indoor plants may struggle to get enough light. LED grow lights are energy-efficient and emit the spectrum of light needed for photosynthesis. They're ideal for growing a wide range of crops indoors, including herbs, greens, and dwarf fruiting plants.
One of the issues many growers face when they use grow lights is that they often buy some strip lights and the light is not evenly distributed across the seed trays, which leads to some plants growing leggy trying to get close to the bulbs.
We have sourced and supply LED light panels which have LED lights across the entire panel which evenly distributes light across your whole seed trays area. The 6000k light mimics daylight and can be used for raising any seedlings and plants before they can get enough light and heat outside.
Check out our LED Grow Light options here: https://reagtools.co.uk/pages/lighting
4.) Raised Beds with Covers:
The summer isn't quite over and so now is the perfect time to add any space you might need for extra winter crops or to get ahead for next season. Raised beds offer a little extra warmth, by being off the ground they are slightly warmer and more protected from frosts.
We have a range of ready to pop together raised beds that come with a pop-up cloche cover, essentially giving you greenhouse growing conditions in your garden without a large polytunnel or expensive glass greenhouse.
Check out the raised beds and pop-up cloche here: https://reagtools.co.uk/collections/raised-beds
5.) The Tilther:
Now is the perfect time to be adding amendments to your beds either to tuck them away for the autumn, or to prepare them for another growing season. Whether you have recently cut down a cover crop (and covered it to suppress the crop), or want to add in chicken manure or a new layer of compost... You can make short of work of incorporating the amendments into your beds with a Tilther.
A tilther is a hand held piece of equipment powered by a normal household battery drill thats tines will break up surface level soil; making it smooth, breaking up clumps and incorporating amendments. It doesn't go below the top 1/2" to 1 and 1/2" of the soil and so is suitable for no-dig operations.
We have the brilliant Iconoclast Pro Tilther from Neversink Tools here: https://reagtools.co.uk/collections/iconoclast-pro-tilther
And the Johnny's Seeds Tilther here: https://reagtools.co.uk/collections/johnnys-seeds-tilther
These tools, combined with proper planning and care, can help you enjoy a fruitful winter garden and keep your green thumb active even in the chilliest months. Remember to adjust your gardening practices to the specific needs of cold-weather crops and the unique challenges of the winter growing season.