I was determined this year to grow a winter garden. I planned to plant Kale, spinach, broccoli, carrots, leeks, beetroot, swede, kohl rabi, silverbeet, pak choi, peas and onions.
The spinach, silverbeet and pak choi that I planted in February did well. I planted 6 each of the spinach and silverbeet and a 'bundle' of about 10-12 pak choi. This was enough to feed the rabbit, or to have with a couple of meals a week. I will plant more next year.
The peas didn't grow..I thought they did ok in cold weather, but obviously not (or not in my garden anyway...).
I planted broccoli in February and succession plantings fortnightly. I had the timing right here, but removed the protective coverings too early. I figured the butterflies/caterpillars must be nearly finished and that they wouldn't be able to do too much damage before they all died, but I was wrong. The caterpillars lived for long after the butterflies had disappeared and destroyed most of my broccoli before I could eat it. The one head that I got to eat was riddled with green caterpillars. Next year I will leave them covered till the butterflies are gone.
The kale and kohl rabi seedlings were very neglected and the ones that survived my lack of care were decimated by the green caterpillars.
Swede seed sown directly into the garden in March didn't do well. They're meant to be easy to grow, like radish's, but apparently not That easy (they didn't survive my neglect). 15th of March was also too late as the one swede that grew is still only as big as a small orange. I will plant these into seedling trays in February next year.
I didn't plant carrots in the end, the leeks are still tiny, I didn't bother with beetroot because heaps had self-sown (from hybrid seed so of course they didn't grow 'true to type' and didn't really grow bulbs...the leaves looked nice though), and I planted onions, but of course they won't be ready till the end of summer, so yet to see how they'll do.
On a side note, the leeks I planted in spring were ready for eating in winter.

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Comment by Kali on September 15, 2009 at 3:16pm
Great blog post
kale self seeds here during the spring/summer, it gets eaten by the caterpillars but once the white butterflies have gone it comes back. I never had luck with autumn sown peas either so I have given that up, its crazy but you really have to plant the winter garden quite early for things to have enough growth on them to eat in winter, eg. leeks, and swedes sown in spring (but then they get devistated by the blardy white butterflies). I have given up on broccoli outside, because even if you overwinter it, there is a small green caterpillar that gets it early in spring, and they are hard to get out when cooking it. the best i ever grew I planted in my glasshouse after the tomatoes finished. carrots, parsnips and beetroot for winter are best started November here
Kali

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