Winter is generally portrayed as the season of no growth, the season of hibernation. Most people see growing anything in a garden during winter as a difficult, if not impossible, task. However, by taking some appropriate measures, growing vegetables should be a fun gardening project this winter.
What vegetables are classified as “winter vegetables”? Vegetables that grow below 20 degrees would be great to plant during winter. These include:
- Spinach: Spinach is often at the top of most people’s planting lists. It is a quick growing winter vegetable that is easy to grow, and is highly nutritious and tasty.
- Broad beans: Broad beans are a great source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C, and have fibre and minerals as well. They grow in upright bushes in colder temperatures, and can be eaten as a whole pod when young, or by removing the seeds and boiling them.
- Broccoli, cauliflowers, and Brussels sprouts: All of these vegetables are under the group of ‘Brassicas’ and grow well in moderate to low temperatures. They are a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, mineral salts and fibre.
- Onions, garlic and shallots: These vegetables are often used as a natural immunity booster. They have a pungent flavour, and are rich in Vitamin C. Though these grow well in winter, they develop in response to day length – therefore correct sowing times are critical.
- Peas: For many centuries peas were eaten only in their dried form but the fresh pea has a sweet, pleasant flavour. This legume grown in colder climates as a climber, or in dwarf varieties, and are highly nutritious, rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, mineral salts and fibre.
Some important things to remember while planting winter vegetables are:
Rotate your patch: If you’re already growing vegetables and other plants in a patch, this shouldn’t be a major problem, since it ends up creating a natural rotation pattern. If you’re new to the world of gardening however, remember to first prepare your patch of land well first, and then – once you’ve brought your vegetables successfully to term – plant something completely different. Seasonal plant changes is considered a natural way to do this.
Position: Plants, particularly vegetables, must have sun. However, in winter, they also need to be protected from harsh winds, so if you have a choice of where you’re planting your vegetables, choose a patch that has a wall and a source of water nearby, and also gets the sun for most of the day.