Sowing the seeds of winter harvests...

01 February, 2015

Now I know it seems crazy in the midst of summer to be planning for winter crops, but that's how it is in the life of a veg gardener. You are always thinking about what you are going to be eating in three or four months time.

I like thinking about what I'm going to be eating, so this suits me just fine.

I have found that sowing brassicas (i.e. broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, amongst others that fall into the brassica category) in January gives me a good winter time harvest. They just need to be watered well in the early days of late summer hot temperatures and protected from the ever rampant White Cabbage Butterfly.

So with yesterday being the last day of January I got my ass into gear and planted some brassica seeds.

This necessitated pulling out the Mini White cucumbers which were nearing the end of their days anyway, and also ripping out the raspberry plants that had wandered over from their designated bed along the fence and were attempting to take over the cherry tree bed.

Into the cleared out bed I planted:
Cabbage: Red Acre, Savoy Drumhead, Chinese Matilda (sound really weird when you think about it), Sugarloaf and Red Drumhead. Savoy Drumhead I've grown before but the others are new. I have never had much success with red cabbage so we shall see how these go.
Cauliflower: Mini White. I've grew these last year and they did well so I'm going with them again.

I also planted a heap of bean seeds (Valentino and Polo) to:
1. See if a mixed planting confuses the WCBs,
2. Add nitrogen as brassicas love feeding, and
3. Also to act as a ground cover and weed deterrant as the brassicas grow.

Also I may even get a bean harvest.

On the broccoli front I've planted into the current watermelon/capsicum bed.

Note Milford the cat having a wander around

I've planted three varieties: Gizmo, Italian and Winter. Italian was a variety I grew last year which lasted me through the whole winter. The other two are new and it will be interesting to compare the three.

The wooden lattice is there because I was too lazy to put it away in the garage after dismantling the cucumber trellis, and I'm kinda hoping it will stop the birds from scratching up the mulch and displacing the seeds.

Are you sowing brassicas? Any recommended varieties?


  1. wow bek, i'm feeling behind the 8 ball - i have not seriously thought about my winter crops! planning to put more carrots and beetroot in soon, but beyond that ... okay, i better get my skates on and start thinking!

    1. I know, it feels completely unnatural! But it works. I'll also be planting carrots and beetroot in the coming weeks but the brassicas are my highest priority.

  2. Already?? Wow, yes I spose I do have room in the front yard though so I do like your thinking. This way my winter veg might actually be ready in winter and not in november/december

    1. I still find that they take until June or July. I'd be interested to hear how it goes.

  3. I'm not sure if you enjoy collards but I (and many other bloggers) love a variety called Beira Tronchuda.

    And then, of course, there is kale - I'm loving Russian Kale raw in salads. It has just the right amount of ruffly texture for a salad without being too ruffled (like curly kale), which makes the leaves much easier to clean & minimizes unpleasant surprises in your salad ;)

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. I've only grown collards once and I think I just didn't know how to cook them, so I haven't thought about growing them again. But clearly I just need to expand my repertoire.
      I too love red Russian kale and excitingly have some that has self sown this year, which is why I didn't specify it. But is certainly one I love growing, for all the reasons you stated. I love curly kale but it is just a happen for bugs. No one likes a bug in their dinner.