Winter is on its way, and even plants are tucking in from the weather. You may have noticed that your garden’s growth is slowing – but despite this, there are some plants that fare well over the cooler months.   

At Sydney’s Cana Farm, common winter crops include beetroot, kale, radish, lettuce and eggplant. “We try to grow everything that is in season,” said Cana Communities resident Ron, who’s worked at the farm for years.

Here are some tips to make the most of your vegetable garden this winter.

Plant veggies that enjoy the cold.

Brassicas, like cabbage and broccoli, make a good winter group, as do other leafy vegetables like spinach and kale. Stagger planting so you can harvest your fresh veg throughout winter, and harvest your kale one leaf at a time – this way it will last all winter.

Move your potted plants to a spot that gets the best winter sun.

As the seasons change, so too does the angle of the sun – so the best place you’re your plants in one season isn’t necessarily best all year. Make sure to keep your plants out of the wind, too, as it dries them up.

Keep your garden tidy.

Good plant hygiene will help your plants survive winter unscathed. Remove dead matter, keep leaves dust free, and ensure good ventilation. Rake up fallen leaves and add them to compost, which will supercharge your soil for spring plantings.

Get a compost bin.

Add compost to your soil and your plants will thank you with abundant growth. Compost needs both carbon material like dried leaves, lawn clippings, straw, newspaper, sawdust and cardboard, and nitrogen material, which includes green leaves, veggie scraps and manure, at a ratio of about two to one. Microbes break down the organic matter, making nutrients available for plants. 

Protect from cold and frost. 

Plants with soft leaves, and young plants, are particularly susceptible to frost, which freezes the plant’s internal cells and turns them to mush when they thaw in the morning. Place frost-sensitive plants in protected areas, under a portable greenhouse cover, or cover them with a hessian bag or even newspaper on the coldest nights. 

Slow-growing plants need less fertiliser in winter.

Switch to a low-nitrogen fertiliser like seaweed tea, which makes plants less susceptible to ailments like grey mould outbreaks. Not all plants need to be fed over winter - deciduous plants that hibernate during winter don’t need fertilising until spring brings the new growing season. 

Your delicious winter veggies should be ready to harvest in August.