Winter Greens Gardening Guide

Winter greens are wonderful crops to plant in your garden for a continued supply of fresh homegrown veges over the cooler season. Not only are they easy to grow, they can be harvested a leaf at a time to add to your winter meals.

Plant

There are plenty of winter greens to choose from – plant varieties you like to eat and suit your culinary needs.

  • 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. Hearting lettuces like icebergs are common lettuce in New Zealand gardens, but European cos and gem types are also being widely planted. Red, pink and even black-leaved varieties will create interest in your garden, and these types seem to perform best in the cooler months. Popular varieties include: Buttercrunch, Cos, Cos Red Majestic, Drunken Woman, Little Gem, Red Salad Bowl, Green Salad Bowl and Tom Thumb.
  • Spinach - a powerhouse of a vegetable packed with nutrients and vitamins. Spinach is a fast growing but short lived crop that is very easy to grow, and is happy in the garden or in a container. When harvested frequently, spinach can continue cropping for a period of months in favourable conditions. Tastes good raw, cooked or added to savoury dishes to muffins to quiches, salads, curries and stir-fries. Varieties include: Bloomsdale, Red stem, Perpetual, and Popeye.
  • 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. Popular varieties include: Rainbow Lights, Bright Yellow, Cardinal, Fordhook Giant, Iron Man, and Perpetual.
  • Rocket - a very quick-growing crop that is commonly used as a salad ingredient or blended into egg and cheese dishes. Rocket has a distinctive sharp, peppery flavour and is ready in a matter of weeks from planting. Ideal in pots and containers, it is also very easy to grow, making it ideal for beginner gardeners. Varieties include Annual Rocket and Perennial Rocket.
  • Mizuna - another very quick-growing crop that can be eaten fresh in salads or cooked. With a mild, peppery, lettuce-like flavour, it appeals to many. Mizuna has attractive feathery foliage on arching, semi-upright stems that appear from a central point. Ready in a matter of weeks from planting, it is one of the quickest crops to grow. Suitable for pots and containers. Varieties includes Green Mizuna and Red Coral.

Choose a spot that is sunny, sheltered from the wind and easy to access for harvesting and watering. Like building a house a good foundation is the key to success in your garden. The better the soil, the better your plants will grow. If you are starting with an existing garden bed dig in organic matter like sheep pellets and compost to your soil. Then you can add a layer of Tui Vegetable Mix. If planting in pots and containers, fill with Tui Vegetable Mix.

Plant

If you’re a first time gardener you may find it easier to grow from seedlings, rather than seeds, although seeds are a more economical option. Check seed packets or plant labels for individual planting instructions. The best times to plant are early in the morning or late in the day, so the plants aren’t exposed to the hot sun straight away. Always water plants well before and after planting.

When planting, allow at least two hand spaces between each plant.

Directions for planting in garden beds:

  • Water plants thoroughly before planting and allow to drain.
  • Dig a hole, approximately twice the depth and width of the root ball of your plant.
  • Partly fill the hole with Tui Vegetable Mix.
  • Gently loosen the root ball of your plant and position the plant in the centre of the hole.
  • Fill in with Tui Vegetable Mix.
  • Press soil gently around the base of the plant.
  • Water your plant well.

Directions for planting in pots and containers:

  • Water plants thoroughly before potting and allow to drain.
  • Partly fill your container with Tui Vegetable Mix.
  • Gently loosen the root ball of your plant and position the plant in the container.
  • Fill your container with Tui Vegetable Mix up to 3cm from the top.
  • Tap the container gently on the ground to settle the mix.
  • Press soil gently around the base of the plant.
  • Water your plant well.

Nourish

Feed your plants and they will feed you. Plants use nutrients from the soil as they grow, so replenishing the nutrients ensures your plants grow to their full potential. Select a fertiliser specially blended for your crop like Tui Vegetable Food or use an all purpose variety, such as Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser. A well watered, well nourished vegetable garden will have a better chance of keeping insect pests and diseases at bay.

Tui Tips

  • The weather, weeds, pest insects and diseases can all impact on the success of your garden. Coming into winter it is important to protect your plants from the colder weather with layers of mulch like Tui Mulch & Feed.
  • Keep your garden weed free.
  • Be vigilant and stop unwanted insects and diseases from ruining your plants. Don’t put up the welcome sign to the munch bunch of slugs and snails. These pests love coming for dinner in autumn, apply Tui Quash slug & snail control every few weeks to protect your seedlings.

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