Winter vegetable gardening is fun, easy and rewarding. Home grown winter vegetables are fresh and healthier for your family, and will save you money too.
Raised gardens are best. Your winter vegetable patch will need adequate drainage to cope with the winter rainfall. Avoid water logged areas, as this can rot the plant’s roots. Make sure your plot is exposed to as much light as possible. Areas that are mostly shaded on winter days will generally produce poorly. Ask about a kitset raised garden at your local Palmers store.
If you already have an established vegetable garden, then autumn is a good time to strip out all summer plants that have finished producing. Dig through Garden X Compost or vegetable mix to enrich the soil and improve drainage. Add Blood and Bone and/or Sheep Pellets at this stage also. If you are planning to leave your vege garden over winter, plant a beneficial ‘green crop’ of lupin, mustard or peas. These can be dug into the soil which adds nitrogen, and conditions the soil in early spring before flowering for your next summer crops.
Winter is a good time to use a warm, sheltered patio area to grow vegetables and winter herbs in pots, troughs and hangers. Easy to access with the ability to move containers if necessary, the patio can be the perfect place to grow veges like winter lettuce, spinach, silverbeet, celery, parsley and kale that grow well in pots.
What to plant – popular winter vegetable seedlings:
- Broad beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Spring onion
- Winter lettuce
These winter vegetables can be sown from seed late summer for planting out in autumn:
NB: Strawberry seedlings are best planted from June/July onwards, even though these won’t fruit until summer.
N.B: Some vegetables listed are suitable for mild winter climates only as they can be frost tender – check with your local Palmers store to see what is best suited for your area.
With ample rainfall and less pest and disease problems through winter, maintenance of your winter vege patch is greatly reduced. Vegetable (and weed) growth is much slower in cool conditions and many gardeners can keep on top of any maintenance quickly and easily. Applying an autumn mulch of Pea Straw will restrict weed growth and help to keep the root zone of winter plants warm. Some crops may also require a cover of frost cloth overnight to protect young tender tips.
We recommend regular slug baiting. Choose bait that lasts longer in wet conditions such as Yates Baysol or Tui Quash which is good as it is safer around kids and pets. Intervals for planting successive crops can be extended due to longer growth to harvest times. A small vege plot may only need 2 to 3 crops planted at 10 to 12 week intervals to cover the full season, so maintenance is mostly spent picking your tasty rewards, and that’s the best job of all! Take other family members, children and pets out for a quick winter adventure whenever weather conditions allow.