You can't beat fresh veges harvested from your own garden. To help you enjoy a continuous supply of delicious homegrown veges we've put together our top five winter crops to add to your patch.
1. Beetroot - a versatile crop, where both the leaves and roots can be eaten, beetroot copes with cool soils and shorter days. Hardy, durable and not particularly fussy, beetroot is ideal for both beginner and experienced gardeners. Cultivate the soil well and add compost and Tui Super Sheep Pellets before planting. Plant in full sun, in rows about 50cm apart (or 3-5 cm apart if sowing seed). In damp areas consider planting it in pots and provide a tunnel house or cloche during heavy periods of rain. Harvest 8-16 weeks.
2. Broccoli - a green Kiwi fave, broccoli isn't just a tasty green, it's packed full of nutrients and minerals making it a superfood of the garden. Give this larger crop plenty of room to grow - plant 30-50 cm apart. Check out the different varieties available in store - purple sprouting broccoli is relatively new on the scene and tastes fabulous. Harvest 12-16 weeks.
3. Lettuce - a quintessential salad crop, lettuces come in a wide range of colours, shapes and sizes so sometimes the most challenging part is deciding which ones to plant! There are two main types of lettuce: hearting lettuces which have a dense centre, and loose-leaf lettuces which have open leaves and no heart. Red, pink and even black-leaved varieties will create interest in your garden, and these types seem to perform best in the cooler months. Plant 20cm apart in the garden, or pack them a bit closer together in pots and pick leaf by leaf as soon as they look big enough. Harvest 6-10 weeks.
4. Silverbeet - packed with both iron and flavour, silverbeet is a popular crop as it can be harvested perpetually – you can pick a few leaves at a time and it will regrow more from the base of the plant, extending the harvest and season. Silverbeet is quick-growing and hardy, it thrives in both warm and cooler climates. Traditionally white stemmed varieties were grown but now yellow, orange, pink and red stemmed varieties are available - yellow being the sweetest.
5. Onion - easy to grow, onions are versatile and store so well after harvest that they can be enjoyed for months on end. Choose from large, round brown ones, to flat white and red onions. Plant in full sun, in a well-cultivated soil. Prior to planting add plenty of compost and Tui Super Sheep Pellets. Where possible, leave the ground to settle for a week of so before sowing seed or planting out seedlings. Onions also happily grow in pots and containers providing they have a soil depth of at least 20cm. Main crop onions sown in spring will be ready for harvest in later summer to autumn, once the tops start to die back.
If you enjoy growing from seed quick-win winter crops include rocket, mizuna, and radish!
- Add a layer of Tui Vegetable Mix before planting. It contains the right blend of nutrients to provide your veges with the best possible start and sustained growth throughout the season. If planting in pots and containers, fill with Tui Vegetable Mix before planting.