What is potting in the winter garden?

Keep planting more rows of spinach every month or two in late summer and the early winter garden.

What is potting in the winter garden is actually a busy time with cleaning up all the dead material like corn and hydrangea stalks but there are lots of butternut hopefully in the cellar and plenty of greens like kale and peas.

As always, the frustration of the writer; it should, of course, be what is potting, but never mind, the apostrophe will vanish thanks to texting and the web.

Just for the record, this is part of a series on growing vegetables and fruit in mild subtropical climates. There's no snow lying on the ground in Hilton, South Africa, in winter and although it sometimes frosts, day temps are around 15 to 22C degrees, which is about a sublime 70F.

Keep planting spinach every couple months, and especially at the end of summer if you value your eggs Florentine. New research reveals that some protein at every meal, and regular exercise, is what keeps the dreaded muscle loss seen in so many elderly folk.

But you may be worried about your cholesterol, so combining eggs with spinach is the way to go. Popeye was not such a freak; he had much less arthritis because of the magnesium in your organic greens. Water them daily if it is dry.

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 18th August, 2020.

Tidying up the garden

It is amazing how much can be achieved in one committed morning of collecting all the dry vegetable matter that is littering the garden. It's perhaps all a little mundane, but those dry prunings from the flower garden (today it was ginger leaves and dead hydrangeas flowers) and veggie patch are perfect for the compost heap. A mountain of cauliflower stalks, dead and dying pea plants, lettuce plants. And of course any still unraked dead leaves that have fallen from the deciduous trees in your garden.

Dull and boring, not time to invite friends to ooh and ahh about whats potting in the winter garden but vital and perfect material for making a compost pile - the heart of the organic vegetable gardening.

Dry compost material aerates the pile in your if you have a wet winter garden.

In just three to four months all that rough stubble will be rendered down to perfect deep black earthy goodness. It is all about nitrogen fixation bacteria in a well aerated heap.

New plans

You will have your own new ideas germinating for your summer garden, vital, keep it exciting, keep focused. For me, this year it's more proper trellises for our beans and peas. I have experimented the last few years with a trellis of bamboo; it works perfectly, but they only last two seasons, and one good wind storm and it is "all fall down." I have grandchildren, you see, ring a ring a roses; stabilise them with a strong post planted deeply at each end. 

So I have gone out and bought some steel fencing posts, stays and galvanised wire.

I have made four fences, two with steel posts, double the price, and two with treated timber poles. Metal stays are vital, otherwise the moment you tension the wires the they will buckle.

Both will probably out live me but if I were you Is would go for the steel posts.

As you can see there is too much shade in this bed, and along the fences in this photo taken about three years ago. I've not cut that bamboo right back, leaving enough to protect us from the African killer bees just behind the bamboo, when we are working in the veggie garden.

Garden fences are important in the winter garden if you have pets.

Enjoy all those winter vegetables

Which brings me to my next point. Trees, bushes, shrubs, this bamboo grow and grow. There comes a time, sooner rather than later when the chain saw and pruning tools must be put to work. I have topped a cryptomeria tree that has grown beyond belief, and all this bamboo will be seriously shading the summer bean fences. It is hard work cutting back and digging out the roots.

You can see in the middle of the above photo where I've started adding wheelbarrows of the compost from the summer compost pile. That too is hard physical work, but it keeps the bod young and supple and strong; beats going to the gym. Less injuries too. Mm, feeling a niggle between the shoulder blades.

Peas planted in the late summer should be fruiting now. I like two varieties of peas. These sugar snaps that you can eat whole in a salad, the grandchildren pick and chomp them in the garden, and Green Feast that are perfect for podding peas, though they rarely get to the pot. They are so sweet if eaten straight after you pick them. How to grow peas ....

Easy soup recipes

Winter is about delicious warm soups that fill the soul and the tum. Nothing beats a bean soup, but fresh limas are something different. They have a very long growing season though. Canned they are often called butter beans.

Like all legumes they put nitrogen back into the soil, and provide us with a good vegetable protein source. I'm as much a carnivore as anyone, but I do try to balance it with beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils. There's a strong correlation between too much red meat and a host of diseases.

Green peas are a lot easier to grow; in our mild winters they do best from May to July. In summer they get mildew.

Growing peas is so simple in the winter garden.

What's potting in the winter garden?

What's potting in the winter garden is so important for those living in a mild climate. It's when the best greens grow, and hopefully lots of butternut and pumpkins stored up in the cellar. It's all about those phytochemicals that promote health and lessen the chance of dread disease; known as functional foods.  

To feel at home, stay at home.
Clifton Fadiman.

Now you can enjoy all that veg that you planted in late summer. Every day, it is salad peas, lettuce, rocket, mint, young spinach leaves, and avocados all from the garden. And our famous authentic hummus recipe that I make twice a week. Two large spoonfuls make a salad, dribbled with freshly squeezed lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.

I have not seen the research but Jamie Oliver, the British cooking celebrity, claims that greens need oil and an acid. I would agree and what's better than olive oil and lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar?

All the phytosterols on your lunch platter straight from the winter garden keep serious illness at bay.

This is our what is potting in the winter garden lunch; there is plenty of organic greens, avocado and our easy to bake sourdough bread recipe; with plenty of butter, yes, dairy is back, and margarine is definitely out.

Fresh lemon juice and olive oil are the sauces; avoid the inflammatory light corn, sunflower and safflower oils that are used in most of the supermarket condiments.

With all those cholesterol-lowering phytosterols you can afford to have a generous spread of butter on your bread, and still have disgustingly low cholesterol! Ever consider why granny and grandpa lived well into their eighties despite butter, full cream milk, bacon and eggs, all before the days of margarine and Statin drugs? Assuming they did not smoke.

Even if you only have a small garden, do consider growing lemon trees; or just one. Such a beautiful tree when laden for months with delicious fruit; or a lime.

Mayer lemon trees are important in our garden for all the salads we are potting.

Perhaps it is time to consider planting other fruit trees. A peach? Better still an avocado. The fruit oils, especially olive and avocado, are not loaded with PUFAs like seed oils. That is inflammatory in the body. Pain, more visits to the chiropractor and cardiologist. Rather consder avocado benefits straight from the garden. What is potting in the winter garden will include digging that hole for a fruit tree.

Do you need help for planting an avocado tree in your garden?

This is the Pinkerton avocado that we planted nearly three years ago; I see some flower buds forming for the first time. This basket is from our faithful Fuerte avocado tree.If you want to enjoy 20 avos a week, like we do, now is the time dig that hole and order your grafted tree. Do not plant a pip. They take ten years to bear, and the trees grow enormous.

Fuerte avocados in this basket were reaped from our winter garden.

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Talking of fruit oils, only olives and extra virgin"olive oil contain a proven anti inflammatory phytochemical that will save your arteries and joints from from become red hot. Read about it at olive oil benefits; good olive oil burns at the back of the throat if you take a teaspoon neat. That is the oleocanthal.


Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself, your family and friends, and Mother Earth for future generations. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books!

Here are the back issues.

  • Mill your own flour
  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
  • Reduce plastic waste
  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
  • Harvest and store sunshine
  • Blue zone exercise
  • Harvest and store your rainwater
  • Create a cyan zone at your home

Although I sprung a rib yesterday, perhaps a big sneeze last night, perhaps carrying all those cuttings to the compost heap (every breath gives me a little stab of pain between the shoulder blades, so I'm going to need rib pain treatment this morning from my chiropractor daughter. Useful having one of them in the family!

As I was saying, despite the rib, EVOO (get it?) and a tablespoon of freshly ground flax seed every day means that I have very little inflammation in the body. Suffering from body aches, concerns about a heart condition, high blood pressure? Think whats potting in the winter garden, get onto anti inflammatory omega 3, extra virgin olive oil and fatty fish - like this simple smoked salmon dip recipe isn't rocket science. More exercise, garden salads, olive oil, fresh fruit and omega-3, read about it at flax seed nutrition information. Isn't that better than pain and disability and umpteen pills?

Dangers of anti-inflammatory drugs

That means none of the dangers of taking anti inflammatory drugs; taken regularly they can cause a large hole in the stomach. Just last week, a new patient complaining of chronic lower back pain and NSAIDs every day for months; on questioning, "oh yes, I've just been to the doc because of some black blood in the stool."

Making a compost pile

Making a compost pile is a year round business if you're a serious greenie, but never is this more true that in the winter garden; pruning the shrubs and roses, cutting back overgrowth of bushes that are shading their companions, and simply deceased lettuce, spinach, beans and a host of summer vegetables are all destined for either your compost pile or the dump.

Making a compost pile is actually quite hard work, physically, and untidy, but they are the heart of the green garden.

A short cut is the wonder of worm farms. Tossed into your compost pile they greatly speed up the process; and provide a fantastic high-nitrogen liquid manure. 

Consider too, if you have the space this chicken tractor design; then you'll have healthy choice foods year-round and not just in winter.

Growing broccoli

Growing broccoli is really best in the cooler months; I like to plant it out in autumn so they can grow through the winter months.

She the queen of the anti cancer vegetables, so how to grow broccoli is a vital question.


Shelled lima beans are a joy in our winter garden.

Legumes all year round is our goal, but that will certainly be more difficult at what's potting in the winter garden in Chicago where we lived for four years. In our moderate climate in Hilton, South Africa, we are still enjoying the last of the limas in July and the broad beans are coming on strongly. Soon we'll have green peas too.

Legumes are frowned upon if you are following a strict paleo or banting diet and perhaps that's right if you are diabetic or insulin resistant. But for the rest of us that's not necessary as they do not produce a surge in blood glucose.

The WHO organisation has upped its warning from possibly to probably concerning red meat. That means more fish and fowl, and legumes for protein. How to plant broad beans simplifies having more plant protein readily available.

Fresh from the garden they are wonderful; after a week in the grocer they are dreadful! Grow them yourself; they are also known as fava beans.

It is certainly a rarity but the midwinter lightning and hail storm in 2020 did wonders for our garden, except for the tree that was struck; an awesome warning of the power and danger of nature.

Green fava beans in their shells are best from the winter garden.

Healthy choice foods

Healthy choice foods are part of a conscious decision that you'll do whatever is in your power to avoid getting cancer, and dropping dead at fifty from a heart attack.

There is indeed some remaining mystery about disease, but an awful lot is known, and scientifically proven. Eat mushrooms to prevent prostate cancer, reduce your red meat to prevent breast cancer, never take hormone replacement therapy unless you've had a total hysterectomy and try to eat eight to ten coloured foods each day, without becoming neurotic about it.

Useful links

  1. Bernard Preston
  2. Easy Soup Recipes
  3. What is potting in the winter garden?

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56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa