In the winter we often think that the garden is out of commission and we should just let everything hibernate until the spring. Although this can be true in some cases, a lot of the time the garden is still thriving in different ways which we never realised. There are winter flowers, trees and bushes which are in bloom at this time of year, and also there are vegetables. Yes, you read that right.
When you think about fruit and vegetables you automatically think of hot climates and that’s the completely opposite for the vegetables we are going to list today for you. If you fancy having some fresh produce and saving some money at the store this winter, we have some amazing options for you to plant this weekend.
However before we start, let’s take a little look at some of the essential tips you need for planting vegetables during the winter period:
- Clear a large space and make sure you have lots of fresh compost on the ground
- Use leaves and grass clippings to help maintain nutrients in the soil and mix this in around 4-5 inches deep
- Make sure you have plenty of tools and containers for any vegetables which need some help germinating
- Play around with natural remedies to stop pests from eating your crop
- Use a greenhouse such as one from Southwest greenhouses to help along smaller and weaker plants which need the sunlight and heat to start growing
Now that you have all the knowledge you need, here are the vegetables which you can plant right now to eat during the winter.
Kale? Yes, believe it or not, that super healthy leafy vegetable is a winter blooming plant and will be the ideal addition to stews, soups and pasta dishes throughout the colder seasons. The best variety for this time of year is Premier and it will be the ideal addition to your vegetable garden for the next few months. It will give you the perfect excuse to eat healthier meals and get fit!
Carrots are usually a popular vegetable because they are sweet in flavour and you can enjoy them either raw or cooked depending on your preference. As one of the most popular root vegetables, carrots grow below the ground and therefore they already have the protection which other plants above the surface don’t have. This means that you should have no problem at all growing a decent crop of carrots to use for soups and roast dinners for the family.
There are so many different varieties of beans which you can grow in your garden, you can grow haricot beans to make your own baked beans, runner beans for fresh stir frys and even butter beans for stews and soups. Runner beans in particular are easy to grow during the winter and you can enjoy a good crop if you plant them during the first half of October. Make sure the water stays plentiful and that there is drainage and you will have no issues with these vegetables.
One of the more surprising entries in this list if you aren’t familiar with gardening has to be the humble cucumber. Believe it or not cucumbers are rife during the colder seasons and this is why many autumn fairs and winter harvests will use cucumber in their celebrations. You can use cucumber on salads, grate it for homemade tzatziki, or pickle them in vinegar put on burgers. You can grow cucumber in a potting bag in the ground and make sure they have plenty of space to thrive.
Peas are some of the easiest vegetables of all time to grow and they can be used in so many different dishes which makes them a huge family favourite, sugar snap peas and green arrow peas are really easy to grow during the winter and you can just leave them to flower and the pods to form without doing much to them. You will likely have to pick them quite regularly because they grow pretty quickly!
Spinach is admittedly a bit of an acquired taste and not everyone’s favourite, but it is amazing for the body and it offers a lot of different minerals and vitamins which our body needs to survive and thrive. Spinach is easy to grow and as long as you use rich soil, you will yield some really wonderful tasting spinach for salads and curries. You can plant spinach right now and it will grow throughout the winter allowing you to harvest the leaves to use in your green smoothies and warming dishes.
Lettuce is the basis of all good salads (is there any such thing as a good salad?) and it is usually simply used to build up healthy dishes and fill us up without adding too much fat to a meal. However, there are many different types of lettuce and each one tastes unique and will offer you a lovely addition to any meal. During the winter you are best off simply buying some lettuce from the store and cutting the leaves free from the heart. Soak the heart in water for a couple of days until roots form, and then plant it outside! You can enjoy fresh lettuce leaves all winter long in those waist trimming dishes.
Cabbage can grow all year long, which makes it a really simple vegetable to grow crops of in your garden as they are incredibly hardy and come in many different varieties. You can grow cabbage in the ground during fall around 6 weeks before the first frost of the year to give it chance to root and grow strong. They need a lot of sun so make sure they are in a bright spot in the garden and you will be able to use it in soups, salads and other dishes throughout the cold season.
Radishes are a great way to add a little bit of punch and spice to a dish and they are cute little vegetables which always bring colour to your plate. Radishes are really easy to grow and they will only take around a month to mature completely which makes it ideal for the winter. You can plant them now and in a few weeks you’ll be enjoying a spicy addition to your burger or pasta dish. When planting radishes make sure the soil stays moist because they need a lot of water to thrive.
Most of us know beetroot as that bright red vegetable where if you touch it, it turns your hands pink for the next week. However this handy root vegetable is good for more than just finger painting, and it adds a lot of antioxidants to your meals along with vitamin C in the same way as carrots do. To grow beetroot at home, you can sow some seeds in the ground at the start of autumn and make sure they don’t get too cold for the first few weeks. It is best off planting them in a sunny spot so they can stay warm and toasty to grow into sweet nuggets of loveliness.
Potatoes are the ultimate comfort carb and we all lean towards potatoes when we need a comforting and warming dish during the cold seasons. To grow potatoes you simply need to let your potatoes sprout in your cupboard, and once they do, plant them under the ground, water them well and leave them to grow. In a few weeks you will have a plant plus fresh potatoes to add to a stew or use as a basis for soup.