Last Updated May 8, 2017 · Written by Rob Schneider
We often think of growing vegetables as a seasonal job: plant in spring and enjoy them over the summer months. In most parts of Australia, you can grow vegetables even in winter. You just have to know which veggies will thrive in your climate. We'll start with cooler Australian climates and move on to tropical parts of Australia.
Parts of Victoria, Tasmania and higher tableland areas have cool winter climates. Even in these climates you can grow a variety of herbs and vegetables in winter.
Some herbs you can grow include chives, coriander, garlic, lemongrass, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, shallots, tarragon and thyme. And don't forget that you can grow herbs indoors. All they need is a sunny window to thrive. Growing them indoors will protect any herb from frost and if you grow them in your kitchen, you'll have the herbs you need at your fingertips.
Some vegetables that thrive in a cooler climate include:
That's quite a list of winter vegetables. If frost is a problem in your area, plant above ground veggies like cabbages in a container. You can make a "blanket" for your veggies by erecting poles around the container and using plastic to protect your crops at night. Just remember to remove the plastic in the morning so your plants can get full sun and don't become overheated.
Sydney and other coastal parts of New South Wales and some parts of Victoria have temperate climates. Some good vegetables to grow in winter in these temperate regions include:
Herbs include coriander, garlic, marjoram, oregano, parsley, thyme and winter tarragon. You can grow more herbs indoors. For some tips, read Creating an Indoor Herb Garden.
Temperatures can dip in dry, inland areas of Australia in winter, but you can still grow a variety of veggies and herbs. Some vegetables that will grow well in winter in drier parts of Australia and the outback include:
To preserve water, grow them in containers and use mulch to help retain water. You can grow almost all varieties of herbs in winter in dry and outback areas of Australia.
Subtropical areas are great for growing vegetables and herbs. Most herbs will thrive throughout the year in subtropical regions like northern NSW and south-east Queensland. The veggies that do best in these areas are broadbeans, broccoli, lettuce, onions, peas, radishes, shallots, spinach, spring onions and turnips.
If you live in Northern Queensland, the Northern Territories or parts of Western Australia, you may enjoy a warm, tropical climate. Whether you live in a wet or dry tropical area, the list of vegetables you can grow is a long one. Just some of the more popular vegetables include:
That's just a partial list of the winter veggies you can grow in tropical Australia. Herbs include basil, coriander, garlic, marjoram, oregano, parsley, thyme and winter tarragon.
In any season, vegetables thrive in sunny locations. They like as much light as you can find for them. The sun is lower during the winter months, so choose a spot that gets as much winter sun as possible. Depending on the orientation of your house, this may be in the middle of your garden or near a fence that gets winter sun.
There are several ways to plant a vegetable garden. We often plant them in rows, with one variety per row or container. Sometimes, planting one vegetable in an area can attract pests. Before modern pesticides were invented, gardeners discovered companion planting. Some herbs repel garden pests. Pungent smelling herbs like oregano, sage, lavender and basil repel garden pests. Others taste terrible and pests will avoid going into areas where they grow.
Companion planting can be good for your veggie garden in another way. Our article, Plants that look, grow and play well together covers many ways you can mix your vegetables, herbs and flowers together to help them thrive. For example, if you live in a tropical area and grow tomatoes, plant them together with beans and carrots. If you live in a temperate or cooler area, plant broad beans and peas together.
One of the great things about growing your own veggies is that you can grow them organically and avoid chemical herbicides and pesticides. Our article, Want an Eco-Garden: Here's How covers a variety of ways you can avoid using chemicals on your garden. It is a five step process:
No matter how large or small your garden is, you can grow winter vegetables. Intensive planting is one way to get bigger crops in a small space. An intensive garden is one where your vegetables are planted close together.
If you have a tiny yard or even a balcony, you can still grow veggies in winter. The best fruits, vegetables and herbs to grow on your balcony suggests several vegetables you can grow on your balcony in pots. For example, peas and beans can climb a trellis and take up little space on a balcony. You can grow other vegetables in pots. You just need to pick a spot where your vegetables and herbs can get sunlight throughout the day.
Gardening experts recommend staggering your vegetables throughout the winter months rather than planting them all at the same time. As a general rule, they recommend planting:
When you grow veggies throughout the year, you will save money and have healthy, organic vegetables for your family to enjoy. A vegetable garden can be a beautiful and edible part of your garden. It may take a little work to get your garden started, but after you've planted your vegetable garden, you will only have to keep it weeded and watered. Your whole family will enjoy the great taste of homegrown vegetables and you'll probably be inspired to expand your vegetable garden in spring.
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