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Plants in a rusted looking planter pot
There are plenty of vegetables to sow and grow for winter, no matter what size garden space you’re working with.

It’s time to plant

The arrival of autumn is the time to plant winter vegetables. Cold season crops include brassicas such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, which love chilly conditions and will provide a hearty harvest throughout the season.

“You will need to refresh your soil and dig in plenty of organic matter, like compost and aged manure, to give your new vegetables the nutrients they need,” says Katy Schreuder, Bunnings Greenlife buyer.

While these plants thrive in the cold, young seedlings may need protection as they establish. “Use a frost cloth, cloche, mini-greenhouse or poly-tunnel-type structure to keep extreme frost and cold away from young seedlings,” says Katy.

Here are eight vegetables you can plant for a bountiful winter crop.

1. Broccoli

Broccoli is a staple of the autumn and winter vegetable garden. It’s packed with vitamins and nutrients and is perfect with warming roasts. This versatile vegie prefers a spot in full sun with rich, well-drained soil. (A position where beans were previously planted is ideal.)

Once broccoli heads appear, feed fortnightly with a liquid fertiliser. Continue to care for the plant once the central head is harvested, as small side shoots develop and can be cut for use.

Harvest: 16-20 weeks.

Broccoli plant

2. Cabbage

This cruciferous winter vegetable is delicious sautéed, roasted, pickled or raw. Cabbage grows best in cold conditions. However, it does need a spot in full sun, with protection from strong winds, in well-drained soil that’s been improved with organic matter. Feed and water consistently throughout the growing season and protect the leaves from caterpillars with regular sprays of an organic pesticide.

Harvest: 12-15 weeks.

Cabbage plant

3. Carrots

Sweet, crunchy and full of vitamin A, carrots are the perfect snack or side dish. The secret to long, straight carrots is in the soil. Choose a spot in your garden or vegie patch that enjoys full sun with well-draining soil. Loosen the soil to a depth of 20cm and dig in compost or aged manure. Ensure there are no hard clumps as this will cause carrots to fork. Sow carrot seeds in shallow rows, cover lightly with soil and water. Place a plank of wood on top of the soil to help keep the ground moist, but remove it as soon as the seeds germinate.

Harvest: 12-18 weeks.

Carrots laying out of basket in soil]

4. Kale

Kale is the quintessential winter vegetable – it's highly nutritious and easy to grow in your garden. This biennial grows for up to two years before it flowers and dies, but it is usually treated as an annual. Cold and frosty conditions improve the taste of the leaves, transforming stored starches into natural sugars, so it’s best to grow and enjoy throughout the cooler months of the year. Harvest kale leaves regularly, picking the outermost leaves first.

Harvest: eight weeks.

Kale on chopping board

5. Lettuce

This leafy green is a productive performer, perfect in pots or garden vegie patches. Lettuce forms a tight or loose head and can be harvested whole or as a ‘cut-and-come-again’ crop, picking the outer leaves as needed.

There are a range of varieties, too, including cos (Romaine), buttercrunch, iceberg and oakleaf. Plant lettuce in full sun to part shade and feed regularly with a liquid fertiliser.

Harvest: six weeks.

Mixed lettuce plants

6. Parsley

The culinary superstar is worthy of a spot in your garden. Parsley is a versatile herb that can be used to flavour soups, salads, stews, dips and sauces. Italian or flat leaf parsley is most commonly used in cooking, whereas curly leaf parsley is typically used as a garnish, although they have similar flavour profiles. Both varieties are decorative in the garden and can be grown from seed in garden beds or pots if you have a small space. Parsley prefers full sun to part shade, with rich, well-drained soil.

Harvest: six to eight weeks.

Close up of parsley leaves

7. Rocket

Rocket (also known as arugula or rucola) is a must-have in the vegie patch. This leafy green is fast-growing and full of flavour, and it’s easy to grow from seed – sow successive crops every three to four weeks for an extended harvest. Mature rocket leaves tend to be bitter, so pick leaves when young for the best flavour. Choose a spot that enjoys full sun to part shade, and ensure the soil is well-drained and enriched with organic matter.

Harvest: six to eight weeks.

Close up of rocket with soil

8. Silverbeet

This versatile vegetable has thick, fleshy stems and broad, crinkly green leaves. Silverbeet stalks are usually white, but coloured forms are also available (often sold as rainbow chard). Silverbeet prefers a full sun to part shade spot in gardens and well drained, slightly acidic (pH 6-6.8) soil. It can grow up to 75cm tall but will be more compact in containers. To harvest, twist the base of the stalk and pull.

Harvest: eight to 10 weeks.

Silverbeet in soil

Keep in mind...

  • Safety tip: Always wear the appropriate safety equipment (safety glasses, gloves, and a mask, for example) and always follow the instructions for the product or equipment. Always wear gloves and a mask when handling potting mix, mulch and compost, and store products out of the reach of children and pets.
  • After applying fertiliser around edible plants, delay harvesting for a few days and rinse well before cooking and eating.
  • Note that planting seasons vary according to region. Check with your local store.

For more autumn gardening tips...

Follow our pruning guide to keep your plants healthy and happy.


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.