Winter vegetables not only provide important vitamins, minerals and fiber for a healthy diet. It also offers environmental benefits. It covers only short transport routes from the field to the shopping basket. However, you don't have to buy your vegetables only in the store. We'll show you how easy it is to plant winter vegetables at home.
Why are only some vegetables suitable for winter?
Winter vegetables such as kale, Brussels sprouts and turnips develop a particularly full aroma after the first frost. The special thing about the vegetables: the hardy plants grow well even in bad weather and low temperatures.
Tip 1: Plant lamb's lettuce as a winter vegetable
Small, but mighty: The leaves of lamb's lettuce are quite small. But they can score with a lot of power for our health. And of course they are delicious too! You can even plant these winter vegetables under snow.
When and how must the lamb's lettuce be sown?
You can sow your lamb's lettuce directly into the loosened soil all year round, as long as the temperature is at least 5°C. If the soil temperature falls below 5°C, the growth of the plant stops, but it is only in a dormant phase.
If you want to harvest the lamb's lettuce crisp and fresh in winter, it is best to sow it in October. You should keep a row spacing of 15 cm here. Dig a groove in the ground and sow the lamb's lettuce thinly. Make sure the seed is no deeper than 2 cm under the soil and keep the soil moist until germination.
Tip: if you want to harvest fresh lamb's lettuce all year round, then sow it at different times.
The optimal location
Your lamb's lettuce only grows well in direct sunlight. So sow it on a sunny balcony or windowsill. After about 2-3 weeks you will already see the first seedlings.
Water and fertilize lamb's lettuce
Water your lamb's lettuce regularly after sowing and remove weeds immediately if you see any. Lamb's lettuce does not need to be fertilized. About 2 months after sowing, you can harvest your lamb's lettuce.
Tip: Only cut off the upper leaves and leave the lower part of the lamb's lettuce. It grows back quickly, so you can harvest it continuously for several months.
Tip 2: Plant Brussels sprouts as winter vegetables
There are many different varieties of Brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts can only develop their full flavor when they are frosted. Hilds Ideal is a strain that you can harvest from October to February. You can harvest the "Gronninger" variety from October to March. However, if you would like to harvest in September, then try the varieties "Nelson" or "Early Half Tall". However, these early varieties are not protected against frost. However, so that they still taste good, they have a higher sugar content.
Sowing in the apartment
By sowing in seed trays, you can plant your winter vegetables as early as March. So you can comfortably start growing the plants in your apartment and plant them on the balcony when the temperatures are higher. Fill the pots with potting soil to about 0.5 cm below the rim. You have to sprinkle about 3 Brussels sprouts seeds per pot. You cover this with soil and keep it moist with a spray bottle.
After about 1 week your sprouts will start to sprout. Once he has developed the first 4 leaves, you put them in a larger pot. The cultivated seedlings can then be planted in their final place in mid-May - late June.
Sowing on the balcony
If you want to plant your Brussels sprouts directly outside, then you should wait until there is no more frost. The month of April would therefore be ideal. Sow the Brussels sprouts in a row with about 1-2cm deep grooves and lightly cover them with soil. When watering, be careful not to wash away the seeds. The planting distance here is 50-70 cm. With good care, you can harvest your Brussels sprouts from September.
Water and fertilize Brussels sprouts
You can fertilize with plant manure from the beginning of the formation of rosettes. A good water supply in summer is particularly important for winter vegetables. We have tips for you here on how you can easily make fertilizer yourself.
Tip: Keep the seedlings rather dry for the first two to three weeks after planting to encourage root growth.
Tip 3: Plant kale as a winter vegetable
The kale is very robust, extremely productive and does not need to be stored. It is one of the most protein-rich vegetables and also contains a lot of vitamin C and iron.
Sowing the kale: first in seed boxes
The optimal planting date should be mid-May. The seeds should first be grown in seed boxes or pots. Simply sow the seeds a few centimeters apart at a depth of 1 to 2 cm and cover with soil. Compost soil is best suited for kale, if you don't have it ready then just potting soil will suffice.
After about 6 weeks, the young plants can then go into the bed. Plant them 40-60cm apart on your balcony. Make sure the plants are a few inches deeper in the ground than they were in the pot. After planting the winter vegetables, water them lightly.
the optimal site conditions
Kale likes to grow on nutrient-rich soil that retains moisture and prefers a partially shaded spot.
Tip: Kale is often affected by the disease called clubroot. To counteract the disease, you can work some lime into the soil when planting to increase the pH value.
Water and fertilize the kale
In midsummer you should ensure a constant water supply so that the curly leaf crowns can form vigorously. You need to keep the bed free of weeds and regularly break up the spaces between each kale plant. In the main growth phase, the supply of nutrients must not be neglected. Therefore support your kale with organic vegetable fertilizer.
Tip for harvesting: You get more out of your kale if you only ever harvest the outer leaves. These keep growing back. However, you should do this regularly, otherwise the kale will taste bitter. Once the kale begins to flower, it is no longer edible.
Tip 4: plant Jerusalem artichoke as a winter vegetable
Jerusalem artichoke is very undemanding and easy to care for. However, if you want to plant these winter vegetables, you should pay attention to a few things.
The right pot size is important
Jerusalem artichoke grows as a lush perennial with yellow flowers. Plants that grow as perennials cannot be placed in an ordinary flower pot. The roots have no space and the plant has little balance in growth.
The bucket should therefore have a diameter of at least 35cm. Each plant needs its own bucket, which should be heavy or have to be weighed down additionally.
How to plant your own Jerusalem artichoke
Jerusalem artichoke can be grown from seed, but this complicated route is rarely taken.It is much easier to buy tubers from the market. Plant one tuber in each pot and cover it with a layer of soil about 10 centimeters long. Water the soil and keep it constantly moist. Don't water too much, however, as the water builds up and can lead to the tuber rotting.
The right location
Choose a sunny or partially shaded spot for your Jerusalem artichoke. Make sure you weigh the pot down enough, otherwise it may fall over in the wind.
Proper watering and fertilizing
If it has enough space and does not dry out, it will grow from spring to autumn. Unharvested, it is a hardy plant that dies, but will sprout again in spring. Compost is suitable as an additional fertilizer, if you don’t have it ready, you can also use homemade fertilizer. You can find out how easy it is to make it here.
Tip: Removing the flowers will cause additional bulbs to form.
As you can see, planting winter vegetables is not that difficult. You can enjoy fresh vegetables like this even in the cold winter months.
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