Winter can be a time of scarcity, when not much is growing. However, you should not ignore things that can be planted in your winter garden! Some plants grow well in the winter, and can get you through the “hunger gap” that happens after the late autumn harvest.
What Can You Grow In A Winter Garden?
It may surprise you to know that there are a lot of plants that an be grown – and indeed will thrive – in the winter months.
Most of these will have been planted during the summer, and will grow to maturity and harvested in the winter.
There is actually a wide variety of plants that can be grown in the winter; not many flowers will survive, but you can get a good vegetable garden going.
Winter veggies like turnips, kale and parsnips are great, but did you know that you can also produce salad, even in the depths of winter?
Carrots, broccoli and beetroot are also great choices for a winter garden; they are cold hardy and will sweeten when they experience a frost or two.
Spinach is another surprising crop that winters well – it won’t survive a really heavy frost, but it will do fine in a normal winter.
As long as you keep them warm – covered with a cloche or well surrounded by fleece, you can enjoy these cut and come again veg throughout the year.
What Vegetables Can Be Planted In Winter?
- Most of the vegetables that grow in the winter actually have to be planted around the same time as your other crops.
- You don’t generally START your planting in winter, but the seedlings you have started can be planted out at the very beginning of the cold season.
- Make sure you don’t leave your planting out too late, as cold soil can get very hard, and you don’t want to do yourself an injury trying to dig through it!
- Many vegetables produce very well through the winter, and can easily cope with the cold and often wet conditions.
- Some, such as the salad types, may need to be kept warm – you can use fleece or cloches to do this.
- Others, such as the root veg, will be quite happy even in frosty soil. If you feel sorry for them you can cover them, but this is not really necessary.
- There are lots of vegetables that are actually improved by a blast of cold; beetroot and spinach, for example, become even sweeter after a frost.
This article is a great one for showing you what vegetables you can plant in the winter.
When Should I Start A Winter Garden?
It is actually best to start planning your winter garden while the weather is still warm and thoughts of winter are far away.
Once you have an idea of what you want to grow in your winter garden, you can start sowing the seeds and hardening them off.
Late summer to autumn is the best time to start on your winter garden, so that the seedlings have a chance to get established and strong.
Try to get all your planting done by August at the latest, otherwise the little plants may not be strong enough to survive the cold outdoors.
Get your garden winter ready by removing as many of the weeds as possible, and getting the soil ready for the new plants.
If you are planning to mulch or fertilise the soil, do so a little while before you start planting your veg, to give the soil a chance to absorb the nutrients.
What Can I Plant Now For Winter Veg?
You should start planting your winter veg seeds in August; any later and they may not have enough time to become established before the cold hits.
- Spinach is a great winter crop; the leaves become sweet with a dash of cold weather.
- Lettuce. You may surprised to hear that you can grow salad crops in winter – you may need a cloche or some fleece, but they will produce year round.
- Spring onions like the cold weather, so planting them in August means you can harvest them from as early as April.
- Turnips. This traditional winter veg likes to be sowed directly into the ground, then thinned out.
- Purple sprouting broccoli will flourish in the winter; just make sure you have planted the seeds early enough.
- Carrots will resist the cold weather, even in frosty ground, so you can have a late autumn sowing and harvest your carrots through the winter.
This video is great at showing you some frost resistant vegetables that are a must for your winter garden:
List Of Winter Vegetables To Grow
- Garlic. This store cupboard staple is perfectly happy being left out in the cold ground.
- Cabbage. Designed as a winter vegetable, cabbage is at its best with a period of cold.
- Kale. Another winter staple, kale is perfect to pick on a frosty morning!
- Parsnips. This slow growing root vegetable will become even sweeter after a frost.
- Onions. Although they are generally assumed to be an autumn vegetable, you can happily munch onions all through the winter.
- Carrots. As long as they are protected from the dreaded Carrot Fly, carrots are perfectly happy in cold ground.
- Beetroot. Beets are the best, aren’t they? As long as they are established enough before the cold weather, they will be fine.
- Broad beans. Planting broad beans in the winter will not only produce delicious beans, but it can help to prevent blackfly infestations.
- Lettuce. Salad crops grow surprisingly well in the winter, as long as they are kept warm with a little fleece or some cloches.
As you can see, winter is actually a surprisingly fertile time in the garden. As long as you plant the right things, that can cope with the conditions, you can have some good growth.
Now that you know what to plant in my winter garden, you can enjoy food and produce the whole year round!