When growing chard over winter, it’s best to start seeds in modular trays to plant in the garden three or four weeks later.
A polytunnel should be used for best results. It’s best to plant from October through to late November and come spring, chard will be one of your first harvests.
It’s also worth noting that the bitter taste that often puts people off chard is sometimes lost if the crop is grown in colder temperatures.
Broad beans are one of the best winter crops to grow as there are many different varieties hardy enough to face the cold months ahead.
You should aim to have your broad beans in the ground by the end of November and you’ll find them ready to harvest by mid-spring.
When planting, ensure you stay away from water-logged ground, and add fertilizer to encourage a delicious bumper crop.
Onions and Shallots
Many onion varieties are cold-resistant and actually prefer to be planted in cooler environments. They can be planted anywhere from early November right up until late January.
Frequent sowings will ensure you have a harvest throughout late winter and spring. Ideally, you should plant your crops from sets as these are more durable than seeds or transplants. Your harvest is ready when the leaves begin to turn yellow and fall over, and the skin turns brown.
Mushrooms are ideally sown by mid-December, but if your winter isn’t too wet you can sow later. You can grow mushrooms either by injecting spores into a log, using a mushroom kit or planting saplings, but the key is ensuring your crop has a moist, dark area to grow.
If you enjoy the tangy, crisp taste of pak choi, then you’ll be pleased to learn it can be sown and harvested year-round. Admittedly, it can struggle in plummeting temperatures, but the addition of a cloche can do wonders.
Harvesting time will depend on how you choose to start your pak choi off, but can be as little as 30 days if you sow baby leaves, providing you with a delicious winter salad.
Garlic is a wonderfully easy crop to grow and can be planted from early October right through until late December.
On the downside, your harvest won’t be ready until June through August, but it’s a great way to make use of your vegetable patch during winter.
When planting, ensure your bulbs are placed in a light, open area and, if you live in an area with high rainfall, preferably in raised beds.
It’s a common misconception that asparagus beds are hard work. If you keep them weed free, they’re relatively easy to maintain. While many varieties of asparagus are best planted in spring or summer, several varieties are winter-hardy and can be planted until the end of November. The downside: asparagus can take up to two years to come to harvest.
While some lettuce varieties are hardy enough to grow outdoors over winter, you’re more likely to get a good yield if you grow indoors, especially if you’re expecting a harsh winter. To get the best outdoor results, plant your lettuce in raised beds, potentially covered with a low tunnel, and keep a close eye on the temperature. If the temperature nears freezing, consider heating your crop.
For the most part, herbs die off in winter, but some varieties will continue to provide you with bundles of delicious seasonings even as the frost sets in. Rosemary, sage and thyme are especially good in winter, and in mild winters parsley can also thrive.\
Believe it or not, these are just a few of the vegetables you can grow throughout winter and with the right care, your winter crops will yield you a wonderful spring harvest and perhaps even a few winter delights, allowing you to enjoy your outdoor garden year-round.