One of the best things about living in New Zealand is that even if it’s winter, you can still grow and harvest your own delicious produce on your own garden. Regardless of the zone or province you’re in, you have a variety of vegetables you can choose from to plant and grow in your outdoor space.
However, the success of your winter vegetable planting venture will depend greatly on your preparation of your garden bed. To prepare your veggie patch for winter gardening, follow the tips below:
Harvest all remaining crops.
The first step to prepping your garden bed is to pick all of the remaining crops. If you can’t eat or use them now as ingredients for meals, you can preserve them instead so that you can enjoy them in the future.
For instance, if there are still herbs such as oregano and marjoram in your garden, trim them and hang the clippings in a warm, dry spot indoors. Use an airtight container to store the dried leaves.
Prep the garden bed.
If there are still some plants and even weeds on the garden patch, make sure you remove them completely, down to the roots. You can put them on the compost heap and use them later on. Once done, dig the whole patch using a fork or spade. You can mix mulch into the soil while doing this. If there are clods, break them up so that you get nice, crumbly soil.
Condition the bed soil.
Before planting, you need to condition the soil with mushroom compost or cow or chicken manure. Lightly dig the compost or manure into the soil then rake it, making sure it is crumbly, level, and smooth. The conditioner you placed will eventually break down and supply the soil with beneficial organic matter. If you’re looking for a type of conditioner that is free, opt for compost. It will help regenerate the soil and increase its water-holding capacity by at least 30%.
Water the bed properly.
Give the patch a good watering at least one day before you plant. By doing so, you will help the manure and compost break down and settle sufficiently.
Spread mulch on the bed.
Lastly, before sowing the seeds, add mulch, such as sugar cane or pea straw. Mulch will help the soil conserve moisture since they it reduces evaporation and prevents weed growth by restricting light and modifying the temperature of the soil by keeping it cool or warm when necessary.
Plants to Grow
If you live in Auckland, and other parts that have temperate weather conditions, the best plants to grow are Chinese greens such as Pak Choi, Brussel sprouts, peas, cabbage, and turnips. If you want to grow some herbs, you can plant garlic bulbs, sage, parsley, thyme, and coriander.
Gardeners living in areas located in the cool and southern such as Christchurch and Dunedin have a variety of vegetables to choose from. These include asparagus, artichoke, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, Brussels sprout, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, lettuce, peas, radish, and spinach.
Once you have chosen your vegetables, sow the seeds and water them deeply but frequently. Be on the lookout for weeds, pests, and other invaders that can cause you to lose your produce.