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28 June 2015

What to grow in your veggie patch this year

You don’t need to let your garden go desolate this winter. Although Australian winters can come dangerously close to snow-covered backyards, there are plenty of crops to plant that will survive, and thrive, throughout winter. They are easy to plant and will give you new produce all through the cold months. Planting vegetables for winter prevents the soil from becoming too compacted, which can make it more difficult to plant produce for your springtime gardening. Prices for organic products soar during winter, so it’s a great idea to grow your own at home. Here is a list of crops that you can grow this winter:

  1. Garlic

Dig about 6 cm deep if the soil is light, or lessen the depth if the soil is heavy. Just make sure that the hole is at least 1 inch beneath the surface. Plant the garlic cloves at least 1 ft. away from each other. Garlic is easy to grow and there are plenty of varieties to choose from. The growing period is a bit lengthy but certainly worth the wait.

Chesnok Red has a creamy texture but if you prefer something slight spicy go for the Red Duke. Red Donetsk and Vallelado have a stronger flavor that is great for winter soups.

  1. Onion

Like garlic, this crop is not difficult to. Avoid planting it in soil with too much clay or sand, as this will make it more difficult for the onion to grow. Despite heavier rainfall during winter, it’s still necessary to ensure that your onions are watered once every couple of days.

If you like to bake your onions, opt for the Brown onion. But if you prefer it raw or grilled, the Red Onion is a brilliant choice. You can also use this to add colour to your salad.

  1. Radishes

Radishes have a rather quick growing time. The pH level of the soil where this crop should be planted should be around 5.5-6.8, which most Australian soils can easily meet. Seedlings should be planted 1.5 inches deep and at least 1 inch apart from each other. Rows should be 1 foot apart. Keep the soil moist but not drenched throughout the cold season.  These are the varieties that are suitable for growing in Australia:

Easter Egg
French Breakfast
Cherry Belle
Black Spanish
Purple Plum

  1. Lettuce

Lettuce requires a similar pH level to radishes, which most Australian soils will meet. Create a trench that is about 0.5 to 1 inch deep. Lettuces have a diminutive root system and only need a shallow trench.  Cover it with 1.3 cm of heaped soil and add 7 to 10 cm of organic compost to facilitate growth. If you are planning to grow different varieties, make sure that they are no less than 10 cm apart.

  1. Potato

This starchy crop is a sensible choice since it can serve as a staple food; it’s adaptable and will help you through the harshest winter. Potatoes prefer well-drained and loose soil. Dig a 4-inch deep furrow, put the seed down, facing upwards and cover it with soil. Seedlings should be 12 inches apart in rows, with 24 inches between rows. Bison, Carisma, Eureka, Harmony, Kestrel, Kipfler, Nicola and Virginia Rose are just some of the varieties that can be grown all-year round.