Kitchen Tips

Your winter garden guide to planting and harvesting fruit and veggies

Find out what seasonal treats to plant and harvest in winter, as well as all our best tip and tricks! From fresh vegetables to delicious fruit, this guide provides all you need to know about winter gardening.

What to sow in winter

Adding a sprig of fresh parsley or coriander will improve the taste and nutrition of any meal. Sow seed in containers at a depth of 20-60cm. Try shallow-rooted veges such as radishes, salad greens, Asian vegetables and spinach in containers at this time of year. Wait until spring for annual herbs such as basil and parsley, unless you have a warm, sheltered spot.
Fast-growing and highly nutritious, kale seed can be sown now for a spring harvest, either directly into the ground or into trays filled with seed-raising mix for planting out later. For a treat, try 'Pink Stem' or sow a mesclun-kale blend and eat fresh or steamed. Protect seedlings from snails.
A sunny position is best for broad beans. For maximum light and more flowers, lower down the stems, plant rows north to south, if possible. Stake well and, on taller varieties, pinch out tops when plants are covered in flowers.
Keep sowing peas for continual harvests if you have plenty of space. Peas do well in good-sized containers if you don't allow soil to become too dry. Try snow, sugar snap and other pea varieties to use in salads and stir-fries.

What to plant in winter

A hot bed (a covered timber box filled with compost) is a great way to grow early potatoes and other crops if you live in a cold area. Look online for easy DIY instructions.
If the soil in your garden doesn't get too cold during winter, it's safe to plant feijoa trees, which are actually tolerant of frost (down to about -10°C). To get more fruit out of the season, plant two or three trees.
Plant strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and other soft fruit now so you'll have plenty of delicious berries for your Christmas table.
If you do nothing else in the garden this winter, plant seedlings of leafy greens such as spinach, bok choy, silverbeet and kale. They're easy-care, nutritious and versatile. Also plant six-week-old cauliflower seedlings 50-70cm apart in fertile soil, with plenty of compost in all but very frosty areas. Keep feeding with a balanced fertiliser every three to four weeks and keep soil moist for large, firm heads. Choose a self-blanching green or purple variety to avoid the hassle of tying leaves over heads to keep them white.

What to harvest in winter

Macadamias
Considered by some to be the queen of nuts, many macadamia varieties (such as Beaumont, Maroochy and GT 205) are harvested at this time of year. For some varieties like Beaumont that don't drop their fruit naturally, you'll need to cut the nut clusters off the tree. For those that do fall to the ground, placing a net under the tree helps make harvesting easier. Try to pick up your macadamias every second day so they don't become diseased or attract the local rats.
Make our delicious caramel macadamia slice.
Citrus
Mandarins, lemon and other citrus fruit ripen all through winter. With most citrus it's best to leave the fruit on the tree until you need it, but don't leave it too long as the birds might start to peck at the skins. Mandarins can also dry out if left on the tree for long periods after ripening.
Check out our best lemon recipes.
Brussels sprouts
When harvesting Brussels sprouts, remove the lower leaves first to make it easier to pick them and to allow the plant to direct energy into cropping. When the sprouts are firm and about 3-5cm in diameter, twist them until they break off at the stem, picking from the base upwards.