With the winter months upon us now, we need to adapt our gardens to match the change in temperature. Although many assume that gardening in the winter is more of a challenge than a hobby to partake in, this doesn’t have to be the case. You just need to know which vegetables suit the season best.
The UK climate doesn’t support the growth of all fruits and vegetables—especially those that thrive in tropical temperatures. However, there is an abundance of crops you can grow that you might not even know about. Here, with a guide from compost retailer, Compost Direct, we discuss the best vegetables to grow in your garden this winter.
Strictly seasonal veggies
There are many crops that will withstand the frost and low temperatures, making them the perfect addition to your winter garden.
- Brussel sprouts: These vegetables can withstand the frost and don’t need to be harvested unless a hard freeze strikes- usually occurring during the UK’s coldest month of February.
- Cauliflower: able to survive temperatures as low as -12.2 degrees Celsius, cauliflower is the ultimate veggie to include in your garden patch this winter.
- Leafy lettuce: despite the frost damaging some of the leaves, parts of the plant are still edible. Lettuce leaves can survive through the winter and be harvested if the brown areas and edges that have been damaged by the frost are cut away. Then, the rest of the plant can continue to grow throughout the season.
- Radishes: although frost poses a threat to the growth of many crops, radishes thrive in lower temperatures. Not only that, but they add a pop of colour to your garden patches too.
- Celery: for winters when the UK doesn’t experience extremely harsh weather conditions that include thick snow and ice, celery thrives through light frost environments.
Not all crops grow in just one season of the year. Some can grow in a variety of climates and temperatures. For those who are wanting to make the most out of their compost bags and grow a season-to-season supply of the same crops, these are the ones to fill your garden patches with.
For crops that are best suited to grow in both spring and winter, you will want to take note of the below.
- Kale: not only is it richer in iron than beef per calorie, kale also thrives in a variety of seasons.
- Broccoli: rich in fibre, vitamins, and fatty acids, broccoli helps to regulate blood pressure. It’s also a tasty vegetable to grow through spring and winter.
- Turnips: loaded with numerous vitamins including C, E, A, and B1, turnips thrive in many temperatures.
- Cabbage: other than helping to decrease levels of oxidized LDL, which can harden our arteries, cabbage has the ability to grow throughout many seasons too.
For vegetables that can be harvested in late autumn but stored for several months over the winter season, there are a variety of crops to choose from.
Some root veggies can be stored throughout the colder months, including potatoes, onions, beetroot, carrots, and garlic.
Parsnips can be harvested and planted throughout autumn and winter. Although typically harvested in late autumn after the frost has wilted away their aerial foliage, the seeds can also be planted in late autumn and grown throughout winter ready for spring.
The likes of both French and broad beans are typically podded and dried in autumn and then can be stored throughout the winter—making for a tasty addition to a winter casserole.
Whether you are a keen winter gardener or are new to growing crops entirely, there is never a wrong season to start. Although our favourite summer vegetables may not be suitable to grow right now, the winter provides plenty tasty crop alternatives for us to plant and watch flourish.