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12 Delicious Winter Vegetables to Grow in Australia

Winter vegetables are those that can survive and thrive in cooler temperatures.

For winter vegetables, the cooler months of the year provide the optimal conditions for them to germinate, grow, and mature.

In fact, many cool-season vegetables will even benefit from light frost because it causes starch to convert to sugar, resulting in a sweeter and more pleasant taste.

In general, vegetables regarded as ‘winter’ varieties are those we will gravitate towards cooking during the cooler weather.

However, keep in mind that the type of vegetables that you can grow in winter in Australia will depend on which part of the country you live in.

Let’s look at the more common types of vegetables you would grow in winter in Australia.

Broccoli

broccoli growing | Fruit & Vegetables

Broccoli is not only a winter staple for many people but it can actually be grown for most of the year in almost the whole of Australia.

The most popular time to plant broccoli is around the end of summer as it has a fairly long growing season. It also likes to be kept moist during its growth period.

You’ll find that in the cooler parts of Australia, you generally won’t have a problem with the white cabbage butterfly whose larvae can damage this crop.

However, if you do encounter this pest, you can reduce damage to your crop by using a vegetable net.

Beetroot

beetroot 2 | Fruit & Vegetables

Beetroot will grow happily in most parts of the country. You want to ensure that the soil is loose and friable so that the beets can grow well under the ground.

Adequate moisture is vital but avoid waterlogged soils as this will cause the beets to rot. Don’t discard the leaves that grow above the ground as these are edible too.

Cabbage

cabbage | Fruit & Vegetables

All types of cabbages can be grown over winter in Australia. These should be planted in late summer or early autumn so that they’re well established before the really cold weather sets in. 

This is another winter vegetable that can be grown quite successfully right around the country.

Carrots

carrots | Fruit & Vegetables

Carrots can be grown all year round in most parts of the country as they can grow in a variety of different temperatures. This is because the main part of the carrot that we eat actually grows underground.

However, did you know that you can also eat carrot tops? Too many people tend to throw these out or pop them in the compost but they’re actually quite nutritious and you can even make pesto from them.

All you really need to grow a successful crop of carrots is nice loose soil. They don’t do well in heavy clay soils.

Plus, you should remember that these are best grown from seed if you want to ensure nice strong straight roots.

Cauliflower

cauliflower | Fruit & Vegetables

Cauliflowers are best grown during winter as they like the cooler weather and there are no white butterflies around to lay their eggs. They also have a fairly long growing season.

Cauliflowers tend to grow best in cool, temperate, and Mediterranean climatic zones rather than in tropical regions of the country.

However, they can be grown in the tropics as long as you give them some protection from the afternoon sun. This should stop them from bolting too quickly.

Garlic

garlic | Fruit & Vegetables

Garlic is generally grown over winter because it prefers cooler weather. It also takes a while to produce those delicious flavoursome bulbs.

In general, the best time to plant garlic is in autumn, especially in March and April.

If you do this, you should be able to harvest your garlic bulbs around September.

Garlic can be grown right around the country as long as the soil is friable and the plant gets some moisture while the bulbs are forming.

Kale

kale | Fruit & Vegetables

Kale is also perfect for growing in winter because it’s less likely to bolt and become tough and fibrous. In fact, kale does become sweeter when it’s been exposed to a frost or two in winter.

This is a super easy vegetable to grow even for beginner gardeners and can be used in so many different ways. It will also grow right around the country in winter as long as it gets enough water.

Leeks

Leek | Fruit & Vegetables

Leeks are very easy to grow over winter. The shorter days mean that they have time to thicken up in the ground before the longer days of summer send them into flower.

Peas

peas | Fruit & Vegetables

Peas are best grown in winter but you need to plant them in a sunny spot. If they don’t get enough sunshine, they won’t produce their succulent pods. This includes varieties such as snow peas and sugar snap peas too.

Peas can be grown in most parts of the country except the tropics because they’re prone to fungal diseases that thrive in hot and humid environments.

You might also struggle in some of the coldest regions if your peas don’t get enough sunshine during the day.

Silverbeet

chard 1 | Fruit & Vegetables

Silverbeet is another of those vegetables that can be grown all year round and is exceptionally good for growing in winter.

This is because the shorter days mean that the silverbeet won’t bolt too readily.

Spinach

spinach | Fruit & Vegetables

Spinach is ideal for growing over the cooler months, especially if planted in a sunny spot. In hotter parts of the country, it should be planted in a spot where it receives protection from the afternoon sun.

This is because spinach will bolt quite quickly if it gets too much sunlight and not enough moisture. That’s why it’s perfect for growing in winter because the daylight hours are shorter.

Snow peas

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Oregon-sugar-pod-1.jpeg
Photo by Rob Duval / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0

Snow peas are surprisingly easy vegetables to grow in Australia, especially if you live in cooler southern regions.

They are best grown from seed and will continue to crop as long as you pick the crisp pods regularly.

Snow peas are quite fast growers and you’ll be surprised at how quickly they start flowering and producing those lovely tender pods.

In fact, you should be able to pick your first pods around 10 weeks after planting the seeds.

Winter vegetable FAQ

What vegetable grows fast in winter?

Leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and silverbeet are the fastest ones to grow in winter.

Can I grow tomatoes in winter?

Tomatoes need around 8 hours of sun per day and warm temperatures. Therefore, if you live in tropical and sub-tropical parts of the country that don’t receive frost, you can grow tomatoes in winter.

Photo of author

Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.

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