Although it’s winter and many ornamental plants are hibernating in the flower borders, there are a surprising number of edibles in the veg plot still growing and producing crops.

Many, like Brussels sprouts, leeks, kale, and purple sprouting broccoli, will have been planted during the summer and autumn months. Other leafy vegetables listed below can be planted during the winter months to grow. Albeit slowly, but if picked regularly they will keep producing new leaves until the spring.

Perpetual spinach for winter crop (Beta vulgaris subsi. cicla var. cicla)

This plant should be grown on every veg plot.  It’s tasty, easy to grow, copes with most soil conditions and produces new leaves for almost 12 months!

Although it’s officially a chard and part of the beet family, the leaves taste very similar to true spinach.


It’s much easier to grow than true spinach and produces its leaves over a much longer period.

It will also grow in part shade and tolerate frost!  It’s also an ideal crop for people with a small growing area.

Seeds are best sown between March and August, sowing directly where you want the plants to grow in shallow lines.

Thin seedlings to end up with plants spaced about 20cm apart.  Pick in the same way as a cut and come again lettuce.

Lettuce for winter crop

Lettuce prefers to grow in cooler conditions. Provided they are given frost protection, they will offer fresh leaves throughout winter if seeds are sown in late autumn.

Choose cold-hardy types such as Romaine, Loose-leaf, or Cos.

The fastest growth will occur if sown and grown under cover such as a greenhouse. However, they can be sown outdoors in shallow rows. This is provided seedlings and young plants are covered with a cloche or other protective cover when frost is predicted.

Romaine lettuce growing in the garden
loose leaf lettuce mixed together.

Japanese greens for winter crop


This plant has a mild mustard flavour, and its leaves are packed full of vitamins. In particular, vitamins A, C and K, as well as iron and calcium.

Both leaves and young flowering stems are edible. The stems can be cooked like broccoli, the leaves used in salads, or allowed to grow large for in stir-fries.

It can be grown year-round.  In autumn and winter sow seeds under cover and outside during the spring and summer months.  Like perpetual spinach, cut the leaves as needed on a cut-and-come-again basis. The leaves can also be left to grow larger before harvesting.

This is another crop suitable for growing in small spaces or pots. It prefers part shade and needs to be kept well-watered as sunny, overly dry spaces can cause plants to bolt.

Sow outdoors between March and August and undercover for the remaining months of the year.  Sow seeds at two-to-three-week intervals for a continuous supply of fresh leaves.

Japanese mizuna leaves


Another plant classed as Japanese Greens is Mibuna.  It’s like Mizuna in taste but forms larger, more dense clumps. They also have longer, narrower leaves and are ideal for growing in containers.

Sow and grow in the same way as Mizuna, sowing fresh batches regularly. This will produce a continuous supply of tasty leaves for most of the year including these winter months.

Japanese mibuna leaves

Other East-Asian Greens for winter crop

There are several other types of East-Asian greens, such as Pak Choi, Choy Sum, Komatsuna, Chinese Cabbage and Chinese Broccoli. They can all be grown in a similar way to the Japanese Greens giving lots of varied choices for healthy, fresh, green leaves during the winter months as well as other times of the year.

Pak choi
Chinese cabbage
Chinese broccoli

There are plenty of healthy plants and greens that you can grow to crop in winter for some delicious meal additions.

Find out some of the best plants to grow to beat a cold:

crops for a cold feature

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas: