How to plant a winter garden

Keep growing fresh food all year long with our guide to winter crops.

Updated September 6, 2019

radishes on plank of wood in garden

Key steps:

Look after your winter garden by following these steps:

  1. Use insulating covers for potted plants to keep frost away.
  2. Get rid of old crops from previous months to prevent disease.
  3. Regulate soil temperature by mulching.

Having fresh vegetables all year long is a gardener’s dream but it takes some planning! You can keep your garden blooming all year long, even during the colder months, as long as you know what winter crops to plant, when to plant them, and how to keep them safe when the frost hits. To help you out, we’ve put together everything you need to know about what vegetables to plant in winter and which varieties are mostly likely to thrive in the cold.

Create a calendar and set reminders on your phone to help stick to your sowing and harvesting schedule throughout the year.

Best winter vegetables to harvest

If you plan ahead, you can create a garden full of winter plants that will be ready to harvest, giving you plenty of veggies for hearty stews and warm soups. Here are just some of the vegetables to grow in winter and when you should plant them:

  • Brussel sprouts, kale, leeks, and winter cabbage. Plant then at the end of spring or beginning of summer.
  • Chicory, parsley and chard. Sow in early summer for a crop that can last into the winter if properly looked after.
  • Carrots. Plant in mid-summer.
  • Asian greens (rocket, mustard, pac choi), potatoes, scallions, spinach. Sow in autumn for a winter harvest.

Best vegetables to plant in winter

It’s not just harvesting you can enjoy in winter, there are plenty of plants you can keep growing through the colder months too! To keep your garden full of life all year long, check out what vegetables to plant in winter:

  • Garlic, onions, shallots, and spring onions. These should be ready for a summer harvest.
  • Artichokes, asparagus crowns. These should be ready for a spring harvest.
  • Perpetual spinach. This is a crop that’ll be ready to harvest again and again!

When it comes to deciding what to plant in winter, there’s plenty you can choose from. Test out some different vegetables and see what works best in your garden as your unique climate and soil will have an impact.

Looking after a winter garden: tips

Once you’ve decided which plants to grow in winter, it’s important you take care of them properly to make sure they survive the cold.

  • Help keep frost at bay with insulating covers.
  • Avoid diseased plants by getting rid of old plants and crops. 
  • Keep mulching throughout winter to help regulate the temperature of your soil to stop it from constantly thawing and freezing - something which can ruin your vegetables.

Now you know what veggies to plant in winter, what to harvest, and how to look after your garden, you can keep producing fresh food all year long! Check out our other tips on how to grow vegetables at home and become a pro-gardener in no time.

Originally published August 29, 2019