Winter Vege Garden

After last year’s poor effort, I vowed to be better organised with our winter vegetable garden this time around. There’s still lots of room for improvment, but I’m pleased to say that the garden does look more productive and promising than it did at the same time last year. We have been enjoying some winter salad greens: corn salad, arugula, mizuna, tat-soi, and cress, as well as the first lettuces (winter lettuce, deer’s tongue, and half century). I am harvesting plenty of swiss chard (silver beet), as well as some New Zealand spinach and a few collard greens and green onions. There are still a few beets and carrots around, and lots of yacon tubers.

Winter greens

Becky and Owen dig some spuds

Leeks, sprouting broccoli, mustard lettuce, red cabbage, broad beans and snow peas are well established, but will not be ready to harvest for a good while yet. I’ve also planted some seedlings of celery, beets, and turnips. These are still very small and not yet properly established.

I’ve had a big disappointment on the onion front. Having gone to the trouble of saving our best onions from last year’s crop and growing them on for seed, I was hoping to have lots of our own onion sets to plant. Sadly, the seed didn’t take well. Only 4 of them germinated. Maybe the seed’s not viable because I didn’t dry and store it carefully enough? Or maybe I didn’t tend the seed tray with enough care? I’m planning to sow the rest of the seed to see if any come up, but have bought some onion seedlings in the mean time. I don’t want to risk having no onion crop!

I spent this afternoon preparing the garden beds for planting onions and garlic. There is a real nip in the air at the moment, and the nights are frosty. We are enjoying the chance to work outside in the cool winter sunshine.

Frost dealing to yacon plants

Brrr: -1.3C is pretty cold for us.

6 Responses to “Winter Vege Garden”

  1. stephen says:

    the winter garden looks good!
    have you tried growing daikon in the winter?
    it’s a staple in Japan. i’ve seen it in the shops in Auckland, so there must be some seed available somewhere…

    btw, is that -1.3C air temp or grass temp?
    in the Far North, i didn’t think air temp went down that far ever!

  2. Kevin says:

    That’s the air temp. The temperature probe is located on the back of the house, facing up the hill. So the cold air flowing down would have been hitting it. We had an even harder frost a few days later! I didn’t check the temp then, but there were frost pockets until around 10-11am.

    It’s record cold for NZ:

  3. Kurt says:

    Becky, regarding onions… I’ve never had much success with onions, either. Although, I have had a strange experience.

    The seed packets all say to plant onions in early spring; one late spring I planted neat rows of onions, figuring better late than never. A few came up, most didn’t. As it happened, I didn’t spade that bed during the summer or fall; I just planted additional seeds without really disturbing the bed. The following spring I had quite a surprise: the onion seeds planted the year before all came up in neat rows! I really should follow up on that and plant onion seeds in the fall, and let the seed’s own wisdom tell them to come up at the right time in the spring.

  4. Rebecca says:

    Hi All,
    @Stephen: I’d love to try growing daikon next winter. Yum. I’ll be on the lookout for some seeds. I think I may have seen some in the Kings Seeds catalogue.
    @Kurt: Interesting to know that I’m not alone with my onion problems. . . but your anecdote about the seed that came up when it was ready has inspired me to go out and rake the rest of the seed into the garden so that it can take its chances!
    Thanks to both of you for your comments.

  5. stephen says:

    @Kevin: that’s amazing. i realize you are a little bit inland, but below freezing in the Far North! wow. hopefully, that’s as extreme as it gets.
    @Rebecca & Kurt: yes! the Masanobu Fukuoka approach to seeds.

  6. imran says:

    can you please tell me where i can buy green onion seeds in nz please?Thanks