Sunday, June 8, 2014

Winter in the Veggie Garden

Carrots ready for harvesting
Here in the Western Cape we have wild wet winters and while the temperatures don't drop below 10 most days, the weather can still make veggie gardening a little less attractive to even the hardened gardener.

 We are very fortunate not to have frost here and can grow a large variety of vegetables in even the deepest of winter months. Timing the garden work to midday can help with the chills, wearing gloves can stop fingers from freezing when planting and watching the weather forecast for rainy days so that the soil is not to muddy for planting all ease the inconvenience of winter.

Winter here is a time for all the brassica's which tend to flower quickly in the summer months, lettuces which tend to bolt, the cabbages which enjoy the cooler weather and peas which can handle the rain. Swiss Chard is also a winner at this time of year and will go on producing up until December.

Carrots and potatoes also do well in winter, as do beetroots and onions and turnips providing I get them in the ground before the read cold hits in May.

Butter Lettuce
Herbs can also continue to grow in full sun and we use so many of them in our meals, sometimes as often as 3x a day depending on the meal plan. Rosemary is a perennial herb as are the other Italian herbs like marjoram, thyme and oregano. I have a few basil plants still hanging in here bravely but I don't suspect they will handle the rain for much longer. Coriander (cilantro) is another herb I try to grow all year round, but it does prefer the Autumn weather where it is very in between hot and cold.

Broad Beans

Another favourite winter vegetable is the old fashioned broad bean. We have been growing these since 2008 and while they are not my children's favourite vegetable we do enjoy hot buttered dishes of them with stews many nights in winter.

Because of the fleshy soft stems broad beans cannot be individually staked. Every year I wait to long to build a scaffold around the plants and then it's a massive job. Having Sam to help on Fridays is a real winner and this week he constructed the first level for me. As the plants grow they will fill the quads made by the cross bars and then we will add another horizontal layer of sticks.

Globe Artichoke

I have 4 globe artichoke plants now and this should be fine for a treat now and then as it is just the woman folk in this home who eat them - the men folk call it "dishonest food"!

For the most part winter is a much easier time in the veggie garden as the weeds are not as prolific neither are the pests - unless you count our 4 cats digging up our seeds as pests :) 

Buster - a Lion King moment

How is your winter garden coming along?

1 comment:

Sue Brown said...

my winter garden is coming along, not in it atm though. Beds of beetroot, kale, radishes, broccoli and carrots are enjoying the cooler weather. We have frosts here but where our vege beds are, they are protected from most of them.
Sue @ www.sue-brown.blogspot.com