Growing vegetables is extremely satisfying, and many gardeners stop growing veggies in the colder months because they think it is going to be too difficult.
What many ‘grow your own’ enthusiasts don’t know is that growing veggies in winter is actually, in many ways easier than it is in summer. There’s usually less watering involved, weeds don’t grow as rapidly in your veggie patches and many of the pests we need to control in summer aren’t around during this time of the year.
There is of course one drawback which is the fact there is naturally less you can grow during this season. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of great options for you to choose from, so you can enjoy your own fresh produce all year round.
Some winter veggies will need to have been planted in summer, however, some can still be planted right now while the ground is still soft. These 7 veggies are suitable for outdoor growing, so you don’t even need a greenhouse to get started!
Here are the 7 best vegetables to grow in winter:
Remember there are lots of great aspects to this time of year. Less pruning and mowing is needed as the growth of the garden slows down, giving you more time to enjoy it. The variety of shrubs and trees will be covered in beautiful morning frosts, and the grass will become a temporary art piece every morning as the frost tinges it.
You will also attract more birds to your garden as they seek food as much of their natural food from Summer becomes unavailable. And let’s not forget the squirrels you’re likely to watch darting around if you have any trees nearby.
So, there is much to love about this time of year in your garden. Here are some simple tips to make it even more glorious this Winter.
1. Perpetual Spinach
This type of spinach is great because it produces large, delicious leaves and you can cut what you need and it will continue to keep growing. When you sow it in early autumn you can enjoy the leaves throughout winter.
This constant harvesting will also ensure you keep getting lots of leaves well into summer, as long as you remember to remove the flowers. As soon as the plant runs to seed you won’t be able to eat it any more.
Onions and shallots are extremely easy to grow and are very low maintenance. They do have a long growing season though so don’t expect to be able to harvest them until next summer.
This is worth considering when planning ahead for your spring growing season as the onions will still be in the ground.
3. Spring Onions
First and foremost make sure you have purchased a winter hardy variety of spring onion, otherwise you’re unlikely to get a crop. Winter spring onions grow quickly and will be ready to pull up in spring.
They make great additions to salads, as soup garnishes and as a sweeter alternative to fried white onions.
4. Broad Beans
If you sow broad beans in autumn you will be able to harvest them in spring. Check the variety you purchase is suitable for autumn sowings as some aren’t.
Once the plants are well established, try snipping off the plant tips and steaming them, they are delicious.
Plant peas now to enjoy a crop of them next spring, just make sure you choose a rounded variety that is particularly hardy.
If you want a long term project that pays off, consider creating a permanent asparagus bed this season. Select an autumn variety to make sure they will last the winter. This is not a vegetable for impatient people!
Asparagus beds can take years to establish and one asparagus crown can grow over 20 spears a year and will continue cropping for a quarter of a century. You might not be able to harvest your asparagus properly for a couple of years, but this is time well spent, as once you can harvest them you’re going to enjoy succulent, tender asparagus for years to come.
Garlic is really easy to grow and is a versatile vegetable to use, so it’s certainly worth growing a crop.
Garlic also has a long growing season and you won’t be able to enjoy it until next summer, but it certainly is worth the wait and is much more delicious than store bought varieties. Weaker garlic is best for cooking, stronger garlic is better for baking.
If It Gets Really Cold
If we have a really cold winter, or if pests take a liking to your veggies, invest in some vegetable fleece to keep over your crops and protect them.