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The Winter veg thread

Post up your pics, your progress, your tips, your questions!

Follow me on my voyage of discovery  :D

Add your own, i've found Charles Dowding has done a lot, published a book and done some YT videos on it.

What is it?
Initially you think it might be growing veg throughout Winter, but it generally isn't. It's more about getting the plants going from late Summer so they are strong enough to exist during Winter. They then start growing again in Spring for an early harvest. It's about growing a plant which is hardy enough to do this, maybe make a bit of progress whenever the sun shines and the temperature is warm enough, then carry on when the weather improves a lot more.

You have to decide what veg (depending on where you live) and also where to grow it, under cover or outside.
Sometimes any variety of a certain plant (Beetroot) will overwinter fine, other times not and you have to buy a specific hardy type (like lettuce).

Here are my first efforts, it hasn't been smooth. Other stuff intervenes, daily life, lack of space etc.

Ah there - lack of space is something to think about.  There is an overlap period where the Summer crops are still in the ground, but you need to get the Winter ones in. Then in Spring the Winter ones could be hanging on and you need to get the Summer stuff in so plan for that. My solution so far has been to start the Winter plants off in modules, trays and pots in August/September.

Everything is looking a bit sparse at the moment.

Lol, I think I need some close up shots, but I got some beetroot, broccoli and beet spinach in early so it's well developed in the modules. It was in there a touch too long and the pots too small because the bed in the PT wasn't ready, but it's in now and the fading Autumn warmth is being used to good effect.  At the far side there are some Winter onion sets.
In the modules there I sowed lettuce, garlic kale and cauliflower, all have germinated now.

I have no idea what these containers were for, but I picked them up cheaply enough and filled them with more Winter onion sets. They've flexed a bit hence the crack in the soil.

I've put some stuff outside in this hastily prepared 'no-dig' bed and I think a bit late too, but we'll see. 

Garlic at the front (left of pic), then beetroot and Beet spinach and various tree seeds in the pots. The sun is to the left which dictates where the rows of plants go.
Currently it's anywhere from static to very slow compared to the inside plants. I think it's more a case of it not rotting or freezing to death before Spring. The weather is a bit grim up here, so if you're down South somewhere you may do a bit better.

One thing's for sure, I won't need to water them much!
I'll post up some more guidance later and check in with progress over the next 6 months or so.



  • I have decided to try a few overwintered crops this year, for the first time ever.
    I have a couple of perpetual spinach plants in open ground, which have finally "got away", sown in August, just beginning to make a few leaves, enough for one person through the winter. I have two single plants, different varieties of kale, growing in large pots in the greenhouse which are doing really well and I  have several more plants to pot on when they have filled their current pots. The kale in the greenhouse was a desperate attempt to stop the damage from pigeons, butterflies, caterpillars, slugs, and snails. Seems to be working at the moment.
    I have just filled some modules with compost, drying them out, and warming up, in the conservatory, ready to sow some autumn-sown onions. Late I know. I am going to attempt to sow individual seeds, one to a module to avoid overcrowding during the winter and thinning out in the Spring. A fool's errand methinks!
    The dwarf beans I sowed in August did well, I had a couple of small pickings but they are looking very battered now due to the rain and strong winds we have had. However, they are still trying to produce beans so a little autumnal veggie treat.
  • Whereabouts in the country are you Joyce Goldenlily ?

    I got some closer shots of the growth to show it's not so desolate:

    If you're growing inside you need to be aware of mould and rot and open doors and windows to get some air moving.
  • I am in deepest, darkest Cornwall.
    My main problems with overwintering crops are the gales force winds and very high, heavy rainfall. Plastic cloches and cold frames are a waste of money where I am, they just get ripped to pieces or blown away unless anchored down with ropes and heavy weights of some kind.
    I sowed my onion seeds yesterday, a single seed in each module, topped with vermiculite. The trays are now in my unheated, double-glazed conservatory. I am just experimenting this year, I normally sow onions on New Year's Day and have never had any problems. I am interested to see if the modules technique will help avoid root disturbance due to no thinning or potting on until the weather warms up in Spring.
    At the moment I have put clear plastic fruit trays over the pots, the seeds are supposed to germinate in 10-14 days so not long to wait, then I will
    remove the plastic covers.
    The seed I have used is Hi Keeper F1, if my experiment works they should be ready for cropping May or June time, producing bulbs around the 4oz size rather than massive show bulbs. We shall see. 
    My garden "soil" is only about a spades depth, very gritty and stony, fast draining, no nutrients. It is on the edge of the clay pit spoil heaps, faces dead South with no shade, exposed. I have to feed right through the growing season and see no point in autumn manuring as it is just washed out by the following season. So, raised beds, lots of homemade compost, and farm yard manure. Another reason I am growing kale in pots is so that I can ram the soil down hard to give them the firm base they enjoy.
    Why do I bother?!
    The challenge, and the satisfaction of succeeding when I do get a crop.
  • Your conditions sound all too familiar Joyce Goldenliley.

    The continuing mild weather means growth has been good, sadly one of the broccoli is going to flower  :/

  • Cut out that flowering broccoli shoot and cook it 😋 
    it’ll start forming sideshoots to harvest later … they’ll slow down when colder weather arrives. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Ante1Ante1 Posts: 3,056
    Lovely photos Mike. I started harvest black radish. They stay in the soil over winter, and I dig them when I need some for cooking.

    Here is still quite warm, and some summer veggies are still outside and grow normally. 
  • Ante1 said:
    Lovely photos Mike. I started harvest black radish. They stay in the soil over winter, and I dig them when I need some for cooking.

    Here is still quite warm, and some summer veggies are still outside and grow normally. 
    That's on the list for next year now, thanks!
  • tui34tui34 Posts: 3,437
    Good evening @Ante1

    I love black radish.  Peel and slice very very thinly - drizzle olive oil over it, salt and pepper and you have carpaccio of radish.  Delicious!!  Bon appétit!!

    A good hoeing is worth two waterings.

  • No photos of my winter veg but have a video posted from planting out some leeks about a month back. There is also some of the chard, kale and beetroot visible in the clip. I also planted garlic about the same time and they have since sprouted and are growing well. Only had space ready for some of next years purple sprouting broccoli but next break in the rain will see most of that planted out.

    I have found with a lot of veg it is good to get it started in a window box and then move to growing in the ground once they are more established and able to cope with potential pest damage. Once the purple sprouting broccoli is in the ground it is over to late planted chard that has done well in the window boxes to fill the rest of the free space and I have a few of the garlic bulbs I did not harvest from last years crop that I will try to divide into single plants. I find shelter planting with some shrubs and small trees is important for protecting the veg from wind damage and will need to trim some of these back in spring so they are not competing too much with the veg.

    Already got to harvest some of the chard (rainbow) and kale (red russian variety) and have some root veg ready to dig up like the beetroot and Jerusalem artichoke but the leeks wont be ready until the spring next year and still look more like spring onions.

    Happy gardening!
  • Ante1Ante1 Posts: 3,056
    @tui34, thank you for tip, I'll certainly try it maybe even today. I usually cook radish in vegetable stew or in soup.

    Mike, it's worth to try sow black radish. For small pack of seeds, you could have large harvest of this extra healthy veggie.   
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