What to Sow Now for a Winter Harvest

Summer may be a time of abundance in the garden but it is also is a fantastic time to sow seeds for a bumper winter vegetable harvest. With careful planning and the right crop choices, you can enjoy fresh, homegrown produce throughout the colder months. Here’s a guide to the best crops to sow in June for a winter vegetable harvest in the UK, along with some tips to ensure your garden thrives even as the temperature drops.

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Why Sow in Summer?

Sowing when the weather is warmer allows your vegetables to establish themselves during the summer months, ensuring they are strong and robust enough to withstand winter conditions. By the time winter arrives, these plants will be mature and ready to continue growing slowly or stay dormant until needed.


Kale is a hardy vegetable that thrives in colder weather and can even improve in flavour after a frost.

How to Sow:

  • Sow directly outdoors in a sunny spot with well-draining soil.
  • Spacing: Thin seedlings to about 45cm apart.
  • Care: Keep the soil moist and protect young plants from pests like caterpillars and aphids.

Try Kale Precoce Di Toscana.

Winter Cabbage

Winter cabbage varieties are bred to withstand the colder weather and can be harvested throughout the winter months.

How to Sow:

  • Sow in seed trays or directly into prepared beds.
  • Spacing: Transplant seedlings to about 45-60cm apart.
  • Care: Ensure regular watering and provide support to keep heads upright.

Try Holland Late Winter.

Brussel Sprouts

Grow your Brussels for Christmas this year!  Brussels sprouts are a quintessential winter vegetable, known for their ability to withstand harsh conditions.

How to Sow:

  • Sow seeds in seed trays and transplant young plants to their final positions.
  • Spacing: 60-70cm apart in rows.
  • Care: Stake plants if necessary and remove yellowing leaves to prevent disease.

Try Brussel Sprout Red Bull.



Leeks are perfect for winter harvesting and are relatively low-maintenance once established.

How to Sow:

  • Sow seeds in seed beds and transplant when they reach about 20cm tall.
  • Spacing: 15cm apart in rows, with rows 30cm apart.
  • Care: Earth up around the stems to blanch them and keep the soil moist.

Try any heirloom varieties.  She Grows Veg are launching 2 beautiful new Leek varieties soon!

Winter Radishes

Winter radishes are larger and slower-growing than summer varieties, making them perfect for autumn and winter harvests.

How to Sow:

  • Sow directly into the soil.
  • Spacing: Thin seedlings to about 15cm apart.
  • Care: Ensure they get plenty of water and harvest before the ground freezes.

Try Watermelon Radish or China Rose Radish.

Drying Beans

As they grow so quickly it is possible to get a late sowing of beans specifically designed for drying in, especially in the south of the UK. For the fastest results choose dwarf varieties that will produce the fastest. 

How to Sow:

  • Sow directly into the soil.
  • Spacing: Thin seedlings to about 5cm apart.
  • Care: Leave the pods on the plant to semi dry and harvest before the frost arrives.

Try Yin Yang or Hidatsa Red.


Possibly the best food to grow in summer to store away for winter warming dishes. Pumpkins rally take off in the warmer temperatures of summer so you can get a way with a later sowing.

How to Sow:

  • Sow directly into individual pots.
  • Spacing: Plant out with at least 1m spacing all around the plant. Give them room to sprawl
  • Care: Ensure they get plenty of water and harvest before the ground freezes.

Try Musquee de Provence or Flat White Boer.

Tips for a Successful Winter Harvest

Choose the Right Varieties

Opt for varieties specifically bred for winter harvesting. These are more likely to be hardy and capable of withstanding cold temperatures.

Prepare Your Soil

Ensure your soil is well-prepared before sowing. Add plenty of organic matter to improve drainage and fertility. A healthy soil base will support your crops as they grow and develop.

Use Protection

Consider using cloches, row covers, or cold frames to protect young plants from early frosts and pests. These can extend the growing season and improve yields.


Apply a thick layer of mulch around your plants in late autumn. Mulching helps to insulate the soil, retain moisture, and suppress weeds, providing a better growing environment for your winter crops.

Regular Maintenance

Keep up with regular maintenance tasks like weeding, watering, and checking for pests and diseases. Healthy, well-maintained plants are more likely to survive and thrive through the winter months.

Succession Planting

Consider succession planting to ensure a continuous harvest. Sow new batches of crops every few weeks to keep your garden productive.

By sowing the right crops in June, you can enjoy a rich and varied harvest throughout the winter months. From kale to leeks, these hardy vegetables will ensure your kitchen is stocked with fresh, nutritious produce even when the weather turns cold. With proper care and planning, your winter vegetable garden can be as fruitful as your summer one. Happy growing!

Shop Heirloom Seeds for a Winter Harvest