The best veggies to grow in winter
It may be a bit late to make a start on some of these veggies right now, but you can always plan for next winter too.
Baby spinach which is all the rage in cooking and in salads, is available to sow from seed and plant from seedlings almost throughout the year. There are a few small-leafed varieties to choose from. Young leaves of larger varieties of Swiss chard, (spinach) are also used as tender baby spinach.
TIP: Add some vibrant colour to the veggie garden by using Swiss chard Bright Lights which has brightly coloured stems.
Be the envy of your friends by growing some trendy microgreens to garnish any dish – it is easy-peasy and oh, so very quick! Microgreens are a variety of young vegetable and herb greens that are picked at the first true leaf stage.
They often have an intense aromatic flavour that varies with the mixture of plant greens used. Sow the mixture of your favourite seeds in pots or troughs/trays on a sun-receiving windowsill, on the patio or in veggie garden beds. In most cases, within a week or two of germinating, the young leaves are ready to start harvesting.
TIP: Remember that by sowing a little extra seed when doing your regular veggie seed sowing you can also keep a little patch aside for microgreens.
Spring onions are always welcome in the kitchen and their unique flavour is sometimes just what is needed. They require very little space and are fun to add into mixed containers on the patio or balcony. The seedlings are available for planting in between other plants and besides being easy to harvest, they create wonderful textural contrast.
Cauliflower loves the winter temperatures and if you are gardening on the cold highveld and have not yet planted any, you still have the chance if you do it now. Because July and August can heat up quickly, choose the seedlings of either the Romanesque, (a trending green cone-looking variety), or one of the small head varieties like Mini Me which will mature faster.
TIP: It’s time for thyme – yes, this herb likes the cool winter months and is a wonderful pairing with most of the winter veg. Again, grow in a pot or add to a mixed container if you are short of garden space.
Visit the Life is a Garden website www.lifeisagarden.co.za for more gardening inspiration or join the conversation on Facebook: www.facebook.com/lifeisagardensa.