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Winter garden planning

Its that tricky time of year again, in between seasons, where I try to guess the optimal time to give up on summer crops, and make room for winter veges that will survive the frosty mornings.  At the moment, I still have a few green tomatoes which might ripen in time, a few eggplants, chillis, capsicums and lots of basil.

At the same time, there are brassica seedlings and parsley popping up all over the garden!  I am moving them all to my nominated brassica garden bed.  Its great to have volunteers, but I'm not sure which are which yet and I worry that I won't have one of everything.  I think I will still have to plant a few of each variety, just to be sure I don't miss out, but I definitely have a headstart on a few of them, there is broccoli and tat soi doing well already.

We had a difficult summer, with several months of very hot and dry weather.  The garden didn't really start producing well until we got the 300 mm of rain in late January, even though I was watering with grey water daily, it just wasn't quite enough.  The dry weather at least meant that I wasn't bothered by fruit flies or slugs, so the tomato crop was good, particularly the yellow "taxi" and red "tropic", but strangely this was the first year ever with no cherry tomatoes, they just never seemed to take off.

After the rain, the tronboncino and climbing beans went crazy.  I didn't have much luck with bush beans though and I think it was too dry for the corn.  The pickling cucumbers were the only plant that didn't better in the dry than the wet.  I still didn't manage to grow any melons.

It going to be time soon to harvest the sweet potato, artichoke and some arrowroot and comfrey before they all die back in the frost.  This will give my berry garden space to expand!  Also time to harvest the tumeric and ginger growing in pots and the galangal in the garden (love making galangal ale, say it out loud and you'll see why).

The kale and silverbeet from last winter is still growing, I tried to pull it out at one stage, but it wouldn't budge, so I was too lazy and it just regrew after seeding!  So I've been picking kale all year, fantastic!  The garlic that I didn't harvest last spring (it was too small) died off and has now resprouted, so we will see if it is bigger next spring.

This winter I am going to plant more root crops than last year, I really want to grow plenty of carrots, turnips and swedes.  I am going to grow more broad beans, I really enjoyed having them produce in late winter, when everything else is finishing off.  I'm going to try a few different peas before it starts to frost, and again after the frost.  I'm going to make more of an effort with onions (in the carrot garden, not with the broad beans or peas this time, supposed to be bad-companions).

I'll be setting up my mini-greenhouse to try to keep a few favourites out of the frost, but it might be a challenge to fit them all in this year, as they've all grown, especially the avocado sapling.

What are you planning this winter?  Anything new in your garden?  How do you deal with the frost?

You might also be interested in how my garden grew in 2012.


  1. Yesterday I picked tomato's and chinese broccoli on the same day, which I thought would never happen. Very odd. The sudden change from summer to winter in our region does pose some interesting logistical challenges. It almost feels like you need two gardens for a period of time, one where the summer veg finish off and another where where the winder plants get starte :)

  2. We sadly had little left of the summer crops as we never got the good lots of rain here and it is still very dry. I picked all of the remaining green tomatoes and they are slowly ripening on my kitchen window sill and ready to be eaten with the basil that is doing well (not sure why!).
    I've put in a lot already for winter, but know there will be a bit of a gap soon between crops, but not a lot I can do about that! Fingers crossed my Pak choi comes ready before I run out of the veg I have still in.
    I love that you have seedlings sprouting in the garden - might leave some of mine to self seed this year :)

    1. its amazing how much difference the rain makes, even if you're watering, its just not the same. I hope your winter season is better...

  3. We had an awful summer, so I have been anxiously waiting for winter here. It is in our winter that we grow tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuces. I sowed some seeds a while back, but then we were hit with days of tropical downpours so I thought they had all drowned. this week we had some sunshine and they are all poking their heads above the soil. I am really looking forward to a very productive garden this year.

    1. that's so backwards, tomatoes in winter! But then I grow carrots in winter too.

  4. lovely post Liz I have never put to much to planning a head before as it never goes the way I plan it but will give it another

    1. no it never goes to plan, but I like to start with one, and watch it all fall apart...

  5. When you get too many turnips, try grating them and lacto fermenting them, they are better than sauerkraut as they have almost a horseradish smell and are great on sausages! We are just getting close to spring planting here.

  6. Im in the same boat. Everything is kinda of still going but then do i take it out and put the winter stuff in? Seems a shame but will the fruit ripen now? In Melb i still have corn in the husks and not sure if it will ripen off. Ive started seeding so perhaps ill give it a few more weeks.

    1. I try to leave everything as long as possible, but sometimes it feels good to just pull it all out and start again with a tidy new garden!

  7. I suck at remembering or checking for what should be planted when. lol but sometimes that leads to good discoveries like, for example, that we can get tomato all through winter in the bath tub beds out the back...

    anyway. I'll take whatever my garden kindly offers :) Enjoy yours and have fun changing over the seasons as you do

    1. yes, sometimes being disorganised leads to pleasant surprises, I still have kale growing from last winter!

  8. Picking rasberries in May is seriously amazing .... loving our hold heritage plants that a dear friend gave me! Does anyone have a germinating what/when calendar? It seems we are 2 mths behind with our broccoli, have plants going, but now our frosts are hitting them.

    We are in North East Vic, near the snow.


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