The 8 Best Winter Vegetables To Plant & Grow In The UK

While the thought of winter may conjure up thoughts of barren allotments, there are a surprisingly wide number of vegetables that can be grown over the winter months here in the UK. 

Selection of the best winter vegtables to grow in the UK

 

If you’re wondering what vegetables grow in winter, we’re here to help. Take a look at our selection of top 8 winter vegetables to plant below: 

1. Onions

Winter onions are very similar to ‘regular’ onions, but are a little milder in flavour and are grown in bunches. They are a hardy vegetable, perfect for growing over the winter months. They’re best planted in the fall to produce the largest yields, providing the ground is soft enough to be worked, usually between October and December before the first hard freeze. 

These winter onions will require full sunlight in order to grow and must be planted 2-4 inches deep, allowing approximately 4-6 inches of space between each bulb. Water them well and, if it looks to be a particularly harsh winter, cover them with a layer of mulch to produce the best results. 

Onions

2. Broccoli

Broccoli is a hardy vegetable that fares best in a cooler climate. Broccoli seedlings should ideally be started indoors, before being transplanted to the garden when they are 4-6 weeks old. For a winter harvest, it’s best to start the seedlings in the early fall. You can expect your broccoli to come into harvest approximately 50-90 days from when they are transplanted. 

broccoli growing in winter

3. Broad Beans

Several varieties of broad beans can be sowed in the autumn, but we have found Aquadulce Claudia to be the most successful type. Sow from September until early November for an early spring harvest.

Sow in 5cm deep drills with around 15cm of space between plants and 45cm between rows. It would be worth staking your plants, as winter winds may affect them and they will need some support to hold their frame.

Broad Beans

4. Brussel Sprouts

Cooler temperatures can improve the taste of these vegetables. Sow in April for a winter harvest, starting the seedlings indoors and then transplanting them to their final growing position only when the young plants are 10-15cm tall.  

Growing sprouts in winter

5. Cabbages

For a strong winter harvest, sow in April/May transplant in late June/July​. Cabbages can be sown either straight into the ground or in modular trays, but they require a sunny site and firm soil. It’s often easier to sow in trays and then transplant them outdoors later. Keep an eye on your cabbages to ensure that garden pests such as slugs and snails don’t eat them.

Growing cabbages in winter

6. Parsnips

In order to enjoy a winter harvest, you’ll need to sow your parsnip seeds around the last week of April, when the ideal soil temperatures tend to be between 5-12°C. Sow your seeds outside using the edge of a trowel to draw a groove in the prepared soil, to a depth of approximately 1 inch / 2.5cm. Sow one seed every 5cm and, if you have more than one row, ensure that rows are 45cm apart. Draw soil back over the seeds and be sure to water them well. 

Your parsnips will be large enough to harvest from mid-September onwards and will last until into the new year, however it has been said that parsnips exposed to frosts will sweeten up and taste better than earlier harvests. Why not compare the two harvests and see which you prefer? 

Winter Parsnips

7. Rocket

Rocket is a hardy salad leaf that produces a good crop of peppery leaves which make a fabulous addition to any salad. It’s easy to grow in pots or soil and, if kept in a greenhouse or under other weather protection, will provide you with delicious leaves for your winter salad. For a later harvest, sow in September. Once the seedlings are large enough, thin to around 10cm and make sure to keep them well-watered.

rocket

8. Leeks

Hardy varieties of leeks, such as the Musselburgh, will stand proudly in your vegetable garden over the winter months, allowing you to enjoy a late harvest. For a winter leek, it’s best to delay sowing until at least early spring. These could be started off on a sunny windowsill or in a greenhouse, but if it’s already warm enough it may be easier to sow straight into the ground. However for any transplants, wait until your leeks are about pencil thickness and plant them out into rich, fertile soil. 

Leeks

Why Grow Vegetables In Winter?

Not only do mature, overwintered plants keep growing well into the colder months, providing you with a longer harvest, but any later autumn sowings will also overwinter as seedlings that will be ready to harvest in the early spring. This minimises the amount of ‘downtime’ in your garden, providing you with fresh vegetables all year round. 

Having fresh, organic vegetables available throughout the winter months will bring you some much-needed vitamin C while ensuring you make the most of the outdoors during the colder months, without letting your ground go to waste.

Our Favourite Winter Vegetable Recipes

Winter calls for warm, hearty, homecooked meals and what could be better than filling them with your own homegrown vegetables. Our favourite recipes include this delicious Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry, best cooked in a traditional wok, or serve up your favourite winter vegetables alongside a delicious Beef Wellington. Why not feast your eyes upon our favourite Beef Bourguignon recipe, which pairs brilliantly with a range of vegetables.

Cooked and prepared winter vegtables

Preparing Your Vegetables

Now you have grown your vegetables and even have a few tasty recipes in mind, the next thing to consider will be how you’re going to prepare them. Thankfully, we have a wide range of kitchen tools and accessories which will offer you everything you need.

From our selection of cookware, we have a vast range of casserole dishes and stockpots for those hearty winter stews. Or if you’d prefer to enjoy the tantalising taste that roasted vegetables have to offer then our roasting tins and dishes come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, perfect for any home.

We also have a wide variety of utensils available, including these beautiful wooden-handled, handcrafted knives designed to offer you a clean and effortless slice through even the toughest vegetables. 

Why not make use of our choices of peelers, or jazz up your vegetables with our very own spiralizer, allowing you to quickly and easily repurpose your vegetables into different shapes and cuts. 

But with all that chopping and changing, make sure to take care of your countertops with our kitchen worktop savers.

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