Expert Advice On What Winter Vegetables Can I Grow?

Introduction to winter vegetables

It’s astonishing to observe the range of winter vegetables that can be grown to prolong the harvesting season. It’s surprising how many people neglect their gardens once the summer season concludes. We all spend a significant amount of time preparing for the Spring, Summer, and Fall harvests but often ignore the potential for winter cultivation.

There are many benefits to growing through winter, which I will explore later in the blog. But you can continue bringing home fresh, nutrient-dense produce right from your garden is fantastic. Imagine picking your Christmas or Holiday dinner from the garden that very morning.

Growing winter vegetables also means that you are still visiting the garden in the coldest months. It lets you see if any maintenance is required in the garden and take action before the damage is compounded.

What are winter vegetables?

Winter vegetables are those plants that are frost-hardy. They grow slowly when cold and require fewer light levels than plants typically grown through Spring and Summer. Therefore, as gardeners, we can continue to bring home produce no matter the time of year.

Zoom picture of a winter vegetable

These plants do not mind cold weather. Some even do better when a frost has hit them, but timing is paramount when planning your winter garden. I aim to provide enough information to start growing winter vegetables at home.

Winter vegetable garden

Typically, the winter vegetable garden can be bleak, empty places with no genuine interest. Too many gardeners will garden through Spring, summer, and wind down during fall after the harvests. But with a bit of planning, you can not only keep this space productive, but you can also keep interested and living in the garden.

This takes some planning and forward-thinking as you need to allow time for things to establish before the coldest months. As discussed earlier, Light levels drop considerably. Although we can continue to get enough heat to keep plants alive, light levels are essential to their growth.

Planning your winter vegetable garden

Amazingly, you must consider your winter vegetable garden as far back as June or July. This allows us to plan out what vegetables we wish to grow. What their growing timescales will be. Where in the garden they will be planted?

Image of a winter vegetable chicory

Therefore, early consideration must be given. It all starts with the fall harvests. Knowing when vegetables from the summer will be harvested will mean we will know exactly what space can be utilized for winter vegetables.

It might shock you that you may even have to consider winter as far back as March if you want to grow the staple foods of winter. These crops will require a long growing season to get to the size for winter. They can then be harvested and stored in a cold store. Or can feed you throughout the colder months of winter.

What winter vegetables can I grow?

Winter vegetable list to sow in Spring.

  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Jerusalem Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Celeriac
  • Shallots
  • Parsnips
  • Rhubarb
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Leek
  • Cabbage

Although you may have already planned for these crops, they do makeup part of the winter food cupboard staples. It is essential to consider them early on. Ensuring you think winter vegetables to plant. You make they are sown in time so you can guarantee you have the space available later. You are making it possible for other winter vegetables.

Winter vegetable list to sow in early summer

The following list will cover vegetables to be sown in early summer, May until the end of July.

  • Beans
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Winter cabbage (Ball head)
  • Winter cabbage (Savoy)
  • Chicory
  • Winter squash
  • Beetroot
  • Carrot
  • Cauliflower
  • Swede
  • Chard
  • Chinese cabbage

These will be crops that will mostly be harvested and stored also. They are relatively quick to grow. Some of these, such as chard and cabbages, will be required to stay in the ground through winter.

Winter vegetable list for last sowings

The following list is for winter vegetables that will be the last year’s sowings. They need to be sown in August and September to grow enough before the light and heat levels drop too low for a change. If you do not give them the time needed, they may not mature enough to survive the colder winter months.

These plants will be grown right through winter and into early Spring. They will provide small harvests. Mainly if you harvest by removing the outer leaves, leaving the plant to regrow.

  • Spring cabbage
  • Chard
  • Leaf beet
  • Corn salad
  • Endive
  • Lettuce
Image of growing spring onions
Picture of a large savoy cabbage
  • Salad onion
  • Oriental leaves
  • Rocket
  • Mustard
  • Pak Choi
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Turnips
  • Broad beans
  • Winter onions
  • Garlic

All of the above are winter vegetables for planting, which is the last chance you will have for crops in late winter and early Spring. There is nothing like being able to harvest winter vegetables that are in season. Check out my video here on YouTube, where I gathered everything for our Christmas dinner.

Herbs to grow in winter

Along with the vegetables, we can grow through winter. Numerous herbs are added to the list. These will help brighten up winter salads and other dishes. They can be used in stews, soups or even for roasting.

  • Chervil
  • Coriander
  • Parsley
  • Land cress
  • Purslane
  • Rocket
  • Sorrel
  • Mustards

When to plant winter Vegetables?

Over the last few paragraphs, I have covered various planting times. This will vary on several factors where you are in the world. What zone do you garden in, to name a few? It is essential to consider these when considering when to plant.

Following the planting guidelines will get you roughly where you want to be. But above, I gave a fundamental quarterly breakdown. Suppose you live on the other side of the world. For example, this is all turned on its head and reversed in Australia.

How to grow winter vegetables?

Knowing what winter vegetables we can grow and when to grow them are the first thing we had to figure out. Next, we need to consider how to grow winter vegetables. Growing vegetables for winter, especially when space is occupied, means sowing them indoors.

Tony O'Neill sowing seed into seed tray
Tony O'Neill sowing seed into cell tray

We are growing winter vegetables indoors.

A polytunnel or greenhouse will make this job much more manageable. As our outdoor space is already taken, we will need to sow into trays, modules, and pots to grow them when space is available to plant out.

Sowing seed is the same way as in Spring, only that it germinates much quicker at the back end of summer. Plants will increase and need to be moved into sequentially sized pots until outside space becomes available.

Preparing the ground for winter vegetables

When it is time to plant out, the ground should be cleared of weeds, and a layer of homemade compost will be added. This will help add all the feed required for the plants to thrive in winter. Do not dig this ground; you will destroy all the beneficial soil life.

If you want to know more about soil, check out the live stream below on YouTube, where I explain all the different soil types. How to test for nutrients and PH and adjust the soil’s PH to suit your vegetables best.

Build Soil Quality

How to build Soil Quality – 60k Subscriber Live Stream.

Building the soil quality in your garden is probably one of the most important things you can do for your plants and health. It will make your life as a gardener much more accessible; the plants are more robust and can defend against predators and pests.

Storing Winter Vegetables

As we have spoken about throughout the blog. We will be growing vegetables all year to store for winter. Charles Dowding says. “Vegetables keep much better when kept in a cool and slightly damp environment.” This prevents them from dehydrating and turning evil.

Vegetables will start regrowing if temperatures climb above 10℃ or 50℉ for a few weeks. To preserve your vegetables, it is essential to prevent this temperature rise.

There are exemptions to this rule, though. Onions, Garlic and Squash produce dry skin, which protects the vegetable. Keeping these damps would cause them to rot. Being cold is fine. You will want to store these in a cool, dry place for a week or two to start the curing process. Check out this YouTube video here on how to cure and store onions.

hanging onions
garden shed with tools and plant pots

Where to store the vegetables?

For the vegetables that need cool and damp. An outside shed or garage is ideal. The humidity is high enough, and gets cool but is usually frost-free.

FAQs on Expert Advice On What Winter Vegetables Can I Grow?

What vegetables are best to grow in winter?
Some vegetables that thrive during winter include kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, carrots, beets, radishes, and winter squash. These cold-hardy vegetables can withstand lower temperatures and continue to grow, providing fresh and nutritious options for winter meals.

Can tomatoes survive frost?
No, tomatoes are susceptible to damage from frost. They are warm-season plants and cannot tolerate freezing temperatures. Frost can harm the plant’s leaves, stems, and fruits, leading to wilting and death. Protecting tomatoes from frost is crucial by covering them or moving them indoors when cold weather is expected.

Can lettuce survive a hard freeze?
No, lettuce is not typically able to survive a hard freeze. Lettuce is a cool-season vegetable and is sensitive to freezing temperatures. When exposed to a hard freeze, the plant’s cells can freeze, leading to damage and wilting. It is essential to protect lettuce from frost by covering or harvesting it before the freezing temperatures arrive.

Conclusion on Expert Advice On What Winter Vegetables Can I Grow?

You can store root veg in paper sacks and potatoes in hessian sacks or trays. For a more detailed explanation, then check out this video. Greens such as cabbage and kale can be hung or kept in plastic bags. Onions and garlic can be plaited or braided and hung up. To learn how to do this, Check out this YouTube video.

I have hopefully given you a way forward with planning, planting, harvesting, and storing winter vegetables. If you found this blog interesting and helpful, please share it and consider subscribing. You can do this in the blog subscription in the right-hand column.

I hope you can grow and store winter vegetables for yourself and your family if you are new to gardening. May I suggest you read this blog post next? 60 Top Gardening Tips For New Gardeners. Thanks for viewing, and remember, folks, You Reap What You Sow.



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