Winter vegetable gardening might sound a little odd to many, but this old practice is an excellent way to ensure that your soil has the proper structure and nutrients to grow healthy crops all year. Yes it might be a little cold and frosty but that’s no excuse.
You can use those winter months to yield a crop of delicious vegetables that cost a fraction of fresh produce purchased in the supermarket and with very little effort involved. And as is the case with summer vegetables, I guarantee you that fresh grown in the garden winter produce tastes so much better than its supermarket counterpart.
What you will find with home grown fresh produce is that because you’re harvesting closer to the time it will be consumed (no packing, overseas shipping etc), it is significantly higher in vitamins. Even more so with your winter vegetables than summer too…
Trust Lazy Susan when we say, the eating quality is always so much higher, simply because many winter grown vegetables such as carrots store more sugars when they’re exposed to the colder temperatures.
Also, many of your winter vegetables are poor travellers and their quality is seriously affected by long periods of packing and shipping. So if you want top quality leeks or curly kale, then the best solution is to grow your own.
Plus, if you go down the grow your own route, you know exactly what has, and hasn’t, been sprayed all over your own plants to help them grow. However, for Lazy Susan, at the end of the day we simply enjoy growing our own vegetables!
There is something extremely gratifying about pulling a delicious fresh carrot out of the ground or snipping fresh brussels sprouts for the Christmas table when there’s snow or frost on the ground.
When it comes to vegetable and flower gardening, the climatic patterns of the UK are quite suitable for a spot of winter gardening. The garden soil will generally freeze to about 2 or 3 inches deep during late November to March, but our usual winters are not severe enough to damage carefully mulched winter vegetables that are protected by cold frames, hot beds, or a greenhouse.
The key to successful winter gardening is getting your crop ready for the first frost, which does vary slightly across the UK but you can generally expect a frost from the end of October through to late November.
You need to plant your winter crops early enough to let them reach their full maturity before that first frost, so ideally they need a good couple of months growing time. If in doubt, your local garden centre can give you information about the timing of first frosts and the hardiness of various crops in your area.
The following guide is based on that first frost coming in late October and we’ve suggested a few root and leaf vegetables that Lazy Susan has successfully grown in the past:
- Late Maturing Crops require approx. 90 days to mature and you need to have them planted by mid July for a winter harvest.
Root Vegetables: Beets, Carrots, Parsnip and Onions
Leaf Vegetables: Brussells Sprouts, Cabbages and Cauliflower
- Mid-Season Crops require approx 60 days to reach full maturity and you need to plant by mid August.
Root Vegetables: Carrots, Leeks and Turnips
Leaf Vegetables: Cabbages, Winter Cauliflower and Swiss Chard
- Early Maturing Crops need approx. 30 days to mature and must be planted by mid September.
Root Vegetables: Chives, Bunching Onions and Radishes
Leaf Vegetables: Broccoli, Leaf Lettuces, Spinach and Mustard