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Embrace the Winter Harvest: Best Vegetables to Plant in Aotearoa

Embrace the Winter Harvest: Best Vegetables to Plant in Aotearoa

As the chilly embrace of winter settles over Aotearoa, it's tempting to think that vegetable gardening must come to a halt. However, avid gardeners know that winter brings its own set of opportunities for growing delicious, nutrient-rich vegetables. Many parts of NZ including Auckland enjoy a mild climate in winter that creates favorable conditions for a variety of crops. Here is our Refill Nation list of top veges to plant at the start of winter to help you keep your green thumbs busy and your plates brimming with homegrown goodness.

Known for its exceptional cold tolerance, kale thrives in a mild winter climate. With its abundant vitamins and minerals, kale is a nutritional powerhouse and a versatile addition to any kitchen. Plant kale seedlings in well-drained soil and ensure they receive ample sunlight. Regular harvesting of outer leaves will encourage continuous growth throughout the season.

Another excellent winter vegetable, spinach is packed with iron, vitamins, and antioxidants. Choose a sunny spot with fertile, moisture-retentive soil for planting. Regular watering will help maintain optimal growth, and you can harvest young leaves for salads or mature leaves for cooking.

Winter Greens Mix:
For a diverse and vibrant winter harvest, consider planting a mix of cold-tolerant greens such as mizuna, mustard greens, and tatsoi. These leafy vegetables can be sown directly into the ground or grown in containers. Their tender leaves add a flavorful kick to salads or stir-fries, making them a must-have for any winter garden.

Auckland's cool winters are perfect for growing broccoli, a nutrient-dense vegetable rich in vitamins A, C, and K. Start broccoli seedlings in trays indoors before transplanting them into well-prepared garden beds. Provide regular watering and adequate spacing to ensure healthy development. Harvest the central head when it reaches maturity, and you'll likely enjoy side shoots for weeks to come.

Winter is an ideal time to plant carrots. These root vegetables thrive in cool temperatures and sweeten with a touch of frost. Choose a well-drained soil that is free from stones or clumps to allow the carrots to grow straight. Regularly thin out seedlings to provide ample space for each carrot to develop. Harvest when they reach the desired size for the freshest taste.

Brussels Sprouts:
While they take longer to mature than some other vegetables, Brussels sprouts are well worth the wait. Plant them in early winter for a harvest in spring. These mini cabbages love the cool climate and provide a nutritious addition to your meals. Ensure they receive full sun, and provide a rich, fertile soil with consistent moisture. Harvest the sprouts from the bottom up as they reach a suitable size.

Don't let the winter chill deter your gardening enthusiasm. By selecting the right vegetables, you can enjoy a bountiful winter harvest. From nutrient-packed greens like kale and spinach to delicious root vegetables like carrots, the options are plentiful. By planting these vegetables in early winter, you'll be rewarded with fresh, homegrown produce. So, grab your gardening tools, don your winter gloves, and get ready to grow your own winter wonderland of vegetables.

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