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Planting a Winter Vegetable Garden

top garden bedThis weekend I removed the last of my summer vegetables from the garden – the crazy cucumber plants. They were still producing when I removed them. I removed  6 small-medium fruit and handed them straight to a friend who had dropped by to take home – we are SO sick of cucumber! Last year it was eggplant , we had so many eggplant I almost avoided planting them this year. Thankfully I did re-plant them as they have been slow to fruit this year. Our small crop this year has been just enough to be make me excited to harvest them as they are ready.

I like to keep the summer plants in the garden as long as possible if they remain productive because they are my favourite vegetables and fruit of the year. I am never in a rush to see them end. I wrote this post late last year on prolonging that productive period. In saying that I also like to experience the gorgeous fresh produce of autumn rather than skip it and head straight into winter planting, despite extended summer harvests.

With the removal of the last summer plants I planted the winter seedlings I have been raising. Autumn plants were added a little while ago and are growing well.

In front of the large lemongrass plants pictured above I have recently planted lettuce, rocket, peas.

In the area near the zinnia that had been home to the cucumber, fennel, beetroot and some onion seedlings have been planted. The capsicum that are just out of shot are still producing for now. When they stop they will be cut back and left in the ground over winter.  If you can spot the glass jar, it is covering a tiny kale plant. There are three of them, keeping the kale seedlings protected from the white cabbage moths that are flitting around the garden at the moment. This year I have also put some kale seedlings into the Vegepod as a comparison and one unprotected plant in the garden. The simple cloche method I have used with the jars I am crediting with a noticeable reduction in the number of moths I’ve spotted in the garden in the last fortnight.

Now is a great time to get winter seedlings into the garden before the warmth disappears, giving the plants time to settle and become established.

Winter seeds

The garden bed in the first image was created approximately two years ago. It is close to the back of the house and is overlooked by the deck. I attempt to keep it looking neater than the garden beds further down the back yard that are planted for productivity.

To keep this garden area looking decent, herbs and plants that continue to flourish through each season have been planted – sage, oregano, rosemary, blueberries, lemongrass and a few small trees. As a result the gaps that are left to be filled with each seasonal change over are not huge. It is not a complete re-planting. This year I have attempted to do a similar thing with the garden beds in the yard to lessen the gap of fresh food to harvest at this time of year.

The garden beds in the backyard are being planted as follows:


The one below has an eggplant and a healthy parsley plant and was recently planted with fennel, peas, rocket and spinach. The gaps have just been filled with little beetroot plants this past weekend.

garden bed 2

beetroot seedlings

The garden bed below has had some broccoli, kale and tiny little onions added next to the nasturtiums to deter the white cabbage moths. The droopy sage bush was transplanted from the top garden area near the house as part of the tidy up I did there. Sage is also said to deter white cabbage moths. I am testing the results of planting broccoli and kale between nasturtiums and sage to verify if companion planting really does make a difference. I will let you know….One broccoli plant disappeared off the face of the earth on the evening of the first day it was planted!

onions newly planted

Onions have been added to this garden bed shown below, along with 3 types of garlic. My summer-garden-obsession to plant as many tomato plants as possible is matched at the end of autumn with the planting of garlic. I am convinced that there is no such thing as too many tomatoes, nor too much garlic. The more the better.

garlic bed

onion seedlings

This garden bed below has been planted with greens – lettuce, spinach, rocket, peas and chive. The back half of the bed has been planted with “Backyard Buddies” – a seed mix of flowers and plants to attract good bugs to the garden. The mix is currently being added to Kitchen Garden Boxes until May 8 for Mothers Day. The sage in this garden bed remains each year and the summer basil will hold out for a few more weeks before it stops producing new leaves and becomes “woody”. By the start of winter it will be a faded memory as we begin to enjoy the winter herbs.

salad bed

Salad for winter

The garden bed below may look like it doesn’t have much space in it but it had approximately 90 garlic bulbs added to it.

The parsley, sage and capsicum will remain in this bed and the marigolds and basil will die off in the coming weeks.

garden bed 1

How is your winter garden planting coming along? What are you planting now? Do you have a plan for your garden or do you do a complete change over of plants each season? I’d love to hear in the comments below.




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