Autumn to winter vegie patch via climatic region

The change of season from autumn to winter brings changes to the vegie patch. How you transit to the winter vegie patch will depend on where you live and your climatic conditions.

Up north, in warm temperate, subtropical and tropical zones:

  • The dry season has commenced.
  • Humidity and rainfall are low.
  • Days can be warm and sunny with cool nights.

Down south, in cool temperate, Mediterranean and highland zones:

  • Days are cool and nights cold. Days are short but lengthening.
  • In Mediterranean zones (parts of southern Australia) rain is often around, while in cool temperate parts of the east coast, winter is often dry.
  • In many areas, especially inland, frost can be widespread with the chance of snow in elevated zones.

There is nothing more rewarding than growing and harvesting your own vegies to share with family and friends. Follow our 7 steps to a bumper autumn to winter vegie patch with tips and tricks along the way.

Soil & Potting Mix
What to do in your garden in winter in June 2023 including looking after and planting winter vegies

Step 1 – Clean up autumn crops.

When transiting to growing winter vegie crops, the first step is to take a look at what is left from summer and autumn produce such as pumpkin, tomato and zucchini.

  • Harvest the last of the produce as many plants may be struggling to produce crops due to a change in their ideal weather conditions.
  • Remove spent plants especially those with diseased foliage, as disease can be spread to other plants or to the soil.
  • Remove any weeds along with trellis and frames used to support past crops.
  • Check around your vegie patch for overhanging growth that’s blocking the sun. Prune back to let light in.

Step 2 – Rejuvenate tired soils.

The soil will be depleted after supporting hungry warm-season vegies. To improve and replenish the soil follow these steps.

  • Ensure water is soaking into the soil. If it’s pooling or running off the soil, apply a soil wetter such as Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner.
  • Add homemade compost and organic matter and/or Seasol Liquid Compost to the soil. This will help to rejuvenate soil health.
  • For most vegies, soil pH should be neutral to slightly acidic. If it’s too low (too acidic), add a handful of lime per square metre to the soil. Use a pH test kit to test the soil pH if you are unsure.
  • Leave the soil to rest for a couple of weeks after adding organic matter before planting to give soil microbes time to go to work to improve soil structure.

Step 3 – Think ahead and discover what to plant!

There is a huge range of vegies you can plant in late autumn and winter. A good start is to plant what you love to eat, have the space for and suits your climate conditions.

  • In warmer gardens, tomatoes, cucumbers, capsicum, beetroot and leafy greens such as lettuce and spinach all grow happily in winter where the climate is warm and frost-free. Also plant potatoes selecting virus-free tubers.
  • In cooler gardens, broccoli, cauliflower, broad beans, peas, cabbage and leafy greens such as lettuce and kale thrive over winter. It’s also the ideal time to plant garlic and strawberries.

Step 4 – Planting winter vegie crops.

No matter where you garden or which crops you are planting, preparing the vegie patch for planting involves soil preparation (see step 2 – Rejuvenate tired soils) and removing weeds. Vegies are either sown by seed or planted as seedlings. Get vegies off to a flying start with these tips.

  • Dig Seasol Plant + Soil Booster into the soil before sowing seed or planting seedlings to improve soil health and plant growth.
  • When sowing or planting follow the seed packet or plant tag for spacing information or follow our specific vegie guides.
  • Water new seedlings in with Seasol or Seasol GOLD and make regular applications every two weeks. This will aid germination and plant establishment and encourage strong root growth.
  • Keep soil moist but not wet and watch for pests such as snails and slugs that devour juicy young foliage.
Seven handy tips o how to grow tasty juice tomatoes How to grow vegetables - tomatoes Handy Hints
7 easy step on preparing for winter vegies up north and down south including what to plant and tips and tricks along the way

Step 5  – Ongoing plant care

Vegies have different requirements depending on their growth habit. Tomatoes up north or peas down south will need to be staked or a trellis used to support them. As a guide follow our specific vegie guides or these general tips:

  • Most vegies are gross feeders so require a lot of nutrients to grow, flower and fruit. Apply a liquid fertiliser such as PowerFeed PRO SERIES for Tomatoes & Vegetables every two weeks to keep them growing strong.
  • Apply a thin 5-7cm layer of organic mulch such as sugarcane mulch, lucerne or pea straw around crops to deter weeds, protect soil from temperature extremes and keep moisture in. Mulch also breaks down to improve soil health.
  • Keep an eye out for germinating weeds as these compete for space and nutrients and may harbour pests. Hand weed or hoe to remove weeds.
  • Check soil moisture daily and water when the soil feels dry. Vegies don’t like wet feet so don’t overwater especially when rain is forecast but also don’t allow plants to dry out. Windy weather can dry plants out.

Step 6 – Vegie harvest

Vegie harvest times vary depending on the crop and growing conditions but generally follow the times advised on the seed packet or plant tag.

  • Always harvest produce when it is ready. Leaving mature vegies on the plant can stop future cropping. Harvest outer leaves of leafy vegetables first to encourage new growth.
  • Harvest in the morning before temperatures up north get too hot but when the frost has cleared down south.
  • When harvesting vegies check the plant and soil. Plants may need extra support or supplementary feeding with PowerFeed Controlled Release for Tomatoes & Vegetables, which also helps revitalise soils and keeps produce forming and growing.
  • Always remove damaged or diseased foliage and wash produce thoroughly before consuming.

Happy eating.

Step 7 –  Pest and disease watch

The pests and diseases you encounter depend on the crop and local climatic conditions but generally watch for slugs, snails, caterpillars and bird pests. Check out our pest and disease guide for help with individual problems. Prevention is the key to stopping pests and diseases in their track before they take hold of your garden.

  • Remove weeds and debris from around your vegie patch and garden as pests will make it their home.
  • Consider planting companion plants to encourage beneficial insects.
  • Remove dead and diseased foliage before it can affect healthy plants.
  • Apply Seasol regularly every two weeks to strengthen plants to help increase tolerance to pests and disease.

TIP: If a pest or disease takes hold in your vegie garden, try Seasol’s natural EarthCare product range to assist with control.