Winter is here, and there are tasks galore to fulfil.
Words: Jane Wrigglesworth
Sow onions, peas, radishes, rocket, silverbeet, spinach, and winter lettuces in sheltered beds, or large pots you can cover or move when it gets cold.
Plant seedlings of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale.
Florence fennel is technically an annual. However, bulbs that missed being dug up over summer may sprout fresh new feathery fronds which can be harvested and used in the same way as fresh parsley. The taste is very close to the bulb.
Bay trees are generally hardy to -5°C, but hard frosts and freezing winds can cause leaves to turn brown. Bring plants in pots indoors in cold areas, or cover with frost cloth. Any leaf damage can be pruned off in spring.
Plant garlic bulbs if you haven’t already.
While basil is a warm-season annual, you can sow seeds in a warm spot indoors and harvest as microgreens for salads and other dishes.
Use a cold frame to keep seedlings, cuttings, and tender plants cosy. Build a box frame from scrap wood and fix a recycled window on top, with hinges for easy access. For a quick fix, push stakes in the ground around tender plants and cover with frost cloth.
Prune grapevines and take cuttings as you do:
• cut just above a bud and 5cm below it;
• push the cutting into a pot of seed-raising mix until the bud is resting on the soil surface;
• water well;
• keep in a warm, sheltered, frost-free spot over winter;
• when roots appear, plant into a larger pot, or in the garden.