Winter Gardening Guide

5 June 2018

“Growing your own food is like printing your own money.”

Ron Finley –

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What to do in the garden in winter

Have you ever considered using the space you have to grow veggies? We are fortunate in New Zealand that, wherever we live, it’s almost always possible to grow some of our own food, whether it be a vegetable patch in your garden, or a little pot of herbs on a small windowsill. At Commonsense, we encourage all our customers to learn about the process and pleasure of using whatever space we have to its fullest potential in growing our own food.

Winter can be a tricky time for growing due to the cold and limited hours of sunlight which result in very slow germination and growth. But winter can also be a great opportunity to nourish your soil after the summer crops have used up its nutrients. It is a time for cleaning your garden up and bedding everything down, blanketing the soil and letting it sleep over winter. If your soil needs some time to replenish, cover it with layers of cardboard, compost, mulch, seaweed, fertiliser and let it rest over winter. Take time to prune your garden, trimming overgrown plants back and killing off weeds. Pile your garden waste into a compost bin or cover with cardboard. The decomposed compost can be spread on the garden in Spring to feed the next season’s crop. 

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The work you do today affects your next season

With planting and growing food, it is always important to be aware that you’re always working towards the next season. Spring will begin in August/September so it is good to keep in mind what you would like to be able to plant by Spring.  

Over winter, you can begin to grow herbs indoors - some great perennial herbs to start with are rosemary, sage, thyme and lemon balm. Grow them on your windowsill to give them the best chance at a strong start.  You can also grow basil indoors over winter.

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What should be in season now in our stores

At Commonsense, we feel it’s important to eat what is currently in season, for the health of the soil, and for us. We’re heading in to winter months in what we can supply, so we expect to have a lot of root vegetables and brassicas in store. Take a look at some delicious recipes and a guide to eating seasonally in Winter here.


More info to help you get started

For information on what to plant and when, take a look at these handy charts from Kings Seeds

Looking for more advice on how to use your garden or space to its fullest potential? Take a look at this list of community gardens and resources

Newtown Tool Library

Sustainability Trust Wellington 


Community gardens in Wellington

Wellington Timebank 

Community gardens in Auckland 

Compost Collective Community Garden – Auckland 

Take the first step in growing your own food by checking out our gardening section in store. To keep up to date with what’s happening, and for more growing advice, sign up to our newsletter here