Winter in the Vegetable Patch

So, what does winter mean when you are thinking of what to plant in your vegetable or herb garden?

"Winter" means different things to different people - it all depends on where you live! There are two distinct winters for people across Australia: 

  • Mild in the warm temperate, subtropical and tropical climates (north coast of New South Wales right up to Cairns and across the Top End)
  • Cold in southern regions(from the central coast of NSW across the continent to Perth and all points south)

light-bulb-icon@2x.png Winter climates explained



A normal winter's day in your area greatly influences your vegetable and herb gardening.

Find out what type of winter you can expect based on where you live.

Warm temperate, subtropical and tropical regions

Winter means:

  • the dry season from April to September
  • low humidity and rainfall
  • warm, sunny days but chilly nights

This weather is fairly typical of winter from the north coast of New South Wales right up to Cairns, as well as the northern coastline of Western Australia and the 'Top End'.

Inland regions may experience much colder nights but the days will still be mild to warm.

Colder regions

From the central coast of NSW across the continent to Perth and all points south, winter is:


  • typically quite cold, often sunny but long stretches of 'grey' cloudy days are common
  • an average temperature hovering around the low to mid teens
  • frosty in inland areas
  • the snow season on higher peaks

light-bulb-icon@2x.png Tips & what to grow in winter for colder areas

In areas where night time temperatures may drop to 8 deg C or lower and where the soil is also cold (15 deg C or less):

  • Sowing and planting of new crops into the garden is generally not recommended
  • When the soil is cold, sap flow in plants is sluggish, roots take up minimal moisture and nutrients and growth slows right down
  • Seeds will not germinate until the soil warms again in spring, and young seedlings may succumb to the cold before they have a chance to acclimatise and start growing
  • Mid year in the south is mostly about harvesting the traditional winter crops while waiting for the weather to warm up in spring for the sowing and planting of summer vegetables


What you can do in winter


It's the right time for lifting, dividing and replanting crowns of the following:

  • Rhubarb
  • Asparagus
  • Horseradish
  • Globe artichoke

Some seeds may be sown into seed trays kept indoors or under cover for warmth, to produce seedlings ready to plant out into the garden in early spring.  They include:

  • Broad beans
  • Onions
  • Spinach
  • Silverbeet and rainbow chard

The winter vegetable plot should be producing a good range of cold season crops including:

  • Cabbage and cauliflower
  • Broccoli and broccolini
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kale including Tuscan kale
  • Winter lettuce ('pick and come again' varieties)
  • Silverbeet

Care tip:

To keep these crops growing and producing well, feed them every two or three weeks with a liquid plant food such as water soluble 
Miracle-Gro MaxFeed Tomato, Fruit & Vegetable or Scotts Pure Organic Premium Seaweed Plant Food (available in both ready-to-use and concentrate formulations)

light-bulb-icon@2x.png Tips & what to grow in winter for warmer areas

In the warm temperate to tropical regions of Australia, temperatures during the day may range from the low to high 20s even though nights may be chilly (below 10 in some parts). In these areas, soils absorb heat from the sun during the day and retain most of that warmth overnight.

That's good news for those wanting to grow vegetables and herbs year-round!


Mid-winter is a great time for sowing vegetable and herb seeds and planting out seedlings - even of some of those crops more often associated with cold areas like cabbage, cauliflower, kale and turnips.

Seeds of the following may be sown now either direct into the soil or into seed trays for later transplanting:

  • Beetroot
  • Silverbeet
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce (all types)
  • Beans (bush and climbing)
  • Spring or green onions
  • Leeks
  • Fennel
  • Peas (snow/sugar snap and shelling varieties)
  • Asian greens (bok choy, pak choy, choy sum, Chinese cabbage, etc)
  • Zucchini
  • Sweet corn
  • Parsley (flat and curly)
  • Coriander

Mid year is also a great time for planting tuberous and perennial crops like:

  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Galangal
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Rhubarb
  • Asparagus
  • Globe artichoke

Whatever you are planting or sowing, remember to:


light-bulb-icon@2x.png Preparing the patch this winter


Successful vegetable and herb gardening, especially in winter, requires good soil prepartion.

Young plants will struggle to establish and thrive if the soil is under-nourished.

Before sowing seeds or planting out seedlings:

Apply even more nutrients

Organic material slowly releases nutrients as it decomposes and breaks down.


To give plants a boost when it’s needed most, topdress with one or more of the following:

Alternatively apply the liquid Scotts Pure Organic Premium Seaweed Plant Food, which is available as both a concentrate to be diluted with water in a watering can and in a ready-to-use hose-end bottle.

Working and turning the soil

Over time, soil can become compacted and hard.

This is detrimental to plants because it:

  • reduces the air space in the soil
  • makes it difficult for water to soak in
  • prevents plant roots from easily penetrating the soil

Working the soil helps to break it up to:

  • create pockets of air that are essential for plant growth
  • allow roots to grow and develop
  • let water penetrate down to the roots
  • release nutrients and allow them to move down through the soil.
  • encourage the return of earthworms and beneficial microbes
  • lead to a soil that is healthy and alive

Tips, tricks & advice

Starting your patch from scratch

Everything you need to know to start your vegie patch from scratch including:

Read more

How to grow the tastiest tomatoes

Enjoy an abundance of tasty tomatoes this summer with these simple tips on:

Read more

Other products you might need

Scotts Osmocote® Plus Organics Vegetable, Tomato & Herb Plant Food & Soil Improver


Designed for all vegetables and herbs, this plant food combines the best of both worlds, creating a healthier growing environment and sturdier plants

Scotts Osmocote® Plus Organics Liquid Fertiliser & Soil Improver


An easy to use all purpose fertiliser that combines the long term feeding benefits of Scotts Osmocote® and organics with the simplicity of a liquid fertiliser

Scotts Pure Organic Vegetable & Herb Premium Plant Food


A premium blend of 100% natural nutrients means you can give your vegetables and herbs all the nourishment they need. You’ll have luscious tasty food you can share while feeding your garden the natural way.

Scotts Pure Organic Premium Seaweed Plant Food


A nutrient-rich, pure organic smart liquid that gently releases fertiliser over 4-6 weeks. Your garden will flourish with this premium seaweed product that comes in a handy Hose-on as well as a Concentrate

Scotts Pure Organic Premium Compost & Soil Improver


A premium quality certified 100% organic compost and soil improver that keeps things simple for growing tasty food and gorgeous flowers and foliage. It improves the overall vitality of your soil so plants grow better and stronger.

Scotts Osmocote® Boost+Feed Vegetables, Tomatoes & Herbs


Easy to use, double action liquid fertiliser feeds through roots and leaves fur bigger tastier fruit and vegetables.