Veg growing in winter – 5 things you can do now

It’s the time of the year gardeners start to get itchy green fingers but it’s still too early to get going properly with veg growing.  But don’t fear, we have 5 things you can get started on this November and December to give you a head start for next year and scratch that seasonal itch.

1. Prepare your veg beds

Use the winter to get your veg beds ready and in great fertile shape for the next spring.  Remove all weeds and cut back any crops that won’t last the winter.  We like to leave the roots in the soil so valuable microbes aren’t removed by ripping crops out.  We garden in a ‘no dig’ method which avoids soil disturbance to maximise the health of the soil.  Click HERE if you want to learn more about it. Some roots also add nitrogen to the soil which is very beneficial for future crops.  

We also like to add a thick layer of homemade or bought peat free compost to veg beds in winter to boost nutrition and smother weed seeds.  Adding it now allows time for the worms and other soil borne organisms to get to work distributing it throughout your soil and pulling all of the nutrients down into the bed.

2. Make your Christmas wishlist

People always want to know what to buy for Christmas, so jump onto Pinterest and share your gift list board with family and friends.  We always love receiving plant labels, new and exciting types of seeds, a new pair of gardening gloves and more for Christmas.  If you’re looking to get growing early – consider grow lights and heat mats (more below)!  We happen to have some awesome seeds that might tickle your fancy.

3. Buy grow lights and heat mats ready for January plantings

Grow lights and heat mats are the best accelerator for your growing and are particularly good for growing really healthy seedlings or crops that need a longer season such as chillies and peppers.  An early January sowing is something we do every year and always with extra heat and light.  Without adding these magic ingredients you’re likely to get leggy seedlings, as even in March the days are still shorter and the little seedlings grow towards the light.  These bits of kit aren’t expensive and there are loads of great options on the market.

4. Plan what you’ll grow next season and buy seeds so that you’re ready to go

This is the exciting bit that we all geek out on.  Why not make it your new year’s resolution to try lots of new veg varieties in the next season?  At She Grows Veg we only grow heirloom varieties because of their superior looks and flavour.  They are a joy to grow and cook with and have such interesting stories of origin.  It’s a great idea to be really honest with yourself about which crops worked and didn’t and importantly which were actually eaten and enjoyed.  Growing is an ever evolving experiment, so it’s always good to keep trying new things.

5. Start some microgreens and some unusual crops

The one crop you can grow in the winter in your kitchen is microgreens, if you’d like to learn how to grow them click here to watch our video.  Microgreens are sprouted seeds that you harvest when they’re really young and tender. Try sunflower, kale, beetroot, lettuce and mustard.  The great thing about microgreens is that they can be planted in just a few centimetres of compost in a tray or in small pots and will be ready to harvest in as little as 10 days!

There are a few exotic and unusual crops that can be started at any time of year.  Why not start something like pomegranates, prickly pears or Beef and Onion Tree that can be started during the winter.

We hope that’s enough to keep your green fingers busy in the colder months. All of the crops we’ve mentioned are available in our seed range here at She Grows Veg.

In our next blog, we’ll be sharing some great crops to start in January with grow lights and heat mats. Sign up to our newsletter so that you don’t miss a thing.