Thriving in Winter: Edible Gardening in Victoria

Gloved hands working on winter vegetables and herbs in pot

Winter in the Macedon Ranges can be a magical time for gardening. Despite the drop in temperature, you can still enjoy a bountiful edible garden, a thriving veggie patch, and a cozy indoor herb garden to boot.

Whilst this time of year can be challenging it can also be super rewarding, so here are our tips for reaping the rewards!

1. Winter Vegetable Stars.
Winter is perfect for growing a variety of vegetables that thrive in cooler weather. Think hearty greens and root vegetables like:

  • Kale: Harvest continuously by picking the outer leaves.
  • Broccoli: Ready to harvest once the heads are firm and tight, typically 10-12 weeks after planting.
  • Cauliflower: Pick when heads are firm and white, around 12-16 weeks.
  • Carrots: Harvest when they reach your desired size, usually around 10-12 weeks.
  • Leeks: Can be harvested through winter and take about 16-20 weeks (but they can also stay in the ground for longer, ready for Spring)

2. Best Herbs for Winter Indoor Growing.

Herbs like rosemary, thyme, parsley and mint do super well indoors, adept at handling the lower light levels and cooler temperatures. So, if you’re limited on outdoor space it doesn’t mean you still can’t grow your own and save some money, whilst enjoying fresh herbs for your winter meals.

Place your herb pots on a sunny windowsill, preferably North-facing for maximum rays and pick away as you need each week once ready3. General Tips for Winter Gardening

3. Get Ready for Berry.

With the leaves fallen from the trees, it's a great chance to plant berry runners or bareroot seedlings - because many are deciduous, they are ready to establish themselves in their new spot while dormant over winter, but ready to go the moment the early spring sun returns. Using runners or seedlings versus growing from seed also reduces chance of transferring any 'viruses' into your crop.

Now that you’ve got an idea of what you might like to grow, here are a few final tips for getting the most out of your patch!

Soil Prep: Good soil is the foundation of a healthy veggie patch. Enrich your soil with compost or well-rotted manure to give your winter veggies the best start. It also pays to give your plants a boost with a liquid seaweed feed every couple of weeks.

Frost: When your seedlings are young, you really want to consider some DIY frost protection. You could look at frost netting or alternatively, use cloches to protect tender plants from frost. They can be simply made from 2l plastic bottles you are wanting to recycle, giving great sustainable protection for your seedlings from the cold.

Simply leave the lids off to allow airflow, or if you’re feeling dedicated, pop them back on to keep them cozy overnight! (Just remember to take them off again come morning)

Pests: The only thing slugs and snails love more than the wet weather, is a fresh garden bed of edibles. We recommend using organic slug and snail pellets but companion planting is also a popular method. Popping some onion and garlic amongst your winter veg, is another natural way to deter unwanted critters, which in turn gives you more edible options down the line!

Lastly, is the dreaded white cabbage moth. Whilst they look pretty, they are renowned for decimating edibles in the brassica family, so if you’re planting broccoli or cabbage, we highly recommend looking into some protective netting to ensure the most bountiful untainted yield!

Winter gardening in Victoria might require a bit more care and attention, but the rewards are well worth it. There’s nothing quite like harvesting your own fresh, home-grown veggies and herbs, even when it’s frosty outside. So, get your gardening gloves on, get planting and enjoy your home grown harvests.

Let us know how you get on, what works for you and any other tips you might have for the rest of the community on our social channels: