Winter Vegetables to grow at home in India

2 comments / Posted on by Neha H V

Winter Vegetables to grow at home in India

 

A Chilly and foggy morning, warm clothes, magical scenery of garden, droplets of mist resting on the flowers and leaves of plants, a sip of hot coffee or tea gives us the pleasure of the Indian winter season. In India, the winter season falls in the month of November and ends in January. This season is liked and awaited by many of us, especially home gardeners who are ready to endure the magical outdoors.

Winter in India is also known as the Rabi season which is the best season to start your Winter Vegetable garden, as amazing cold weather allows you to work in the garden and grow a variety of winter vegetables. Winter Vegetables can be sown in the period of months August to October. These Vegetables will be ready for harvest during the winter months December to January.

To make the choice of Winter Vegetables easy for you all home gardeners, we listed Vegetables, along with their sowing and harvesting time. Have a look at the Winter Vegetable sowing and harvesting calendar to set up your own Winter Vegetables garden at home.

 

 

Winter Vegetable sowing and harvesting calendar in India

Sl.No

Vegetables

Sowing time

Days for Germination

Days for Harvesting

1

Onion

Oct-Dec

7 - 10

150-160

2

Beetroot

Sept-Nov

7 - 14

80-90

3

Carrot

Aug-Oct

14 - 21

85-100

4

Palak

All seasons

5 - 10

45-50

5

Methi

Aug-Sept

7 - 10

20-30

6

Cucumber

All seasons

7 - 14

60-70

7

Bitter gourd

Oct-Dec

7 - 10

55-60

8

Ridge gourd

Oct-Jan

7 - 14

45-60

9

Cabbage

Sep-Nov

7 - 14

90-120

10

Cauliflower

Sep-Nov

7 - 10

90-120

11

Capsicum

Sep-Feb

14 - 18

60-70

12

Green peas

Sep-Oct

10 - 15

55-60

13

Tomato

All seasons

10 - 14

90-100

14

Okra

All seasons

7 - 10

50-65

15

Radish

All seasons

4 - 10

45-55


 

Top Winter Vegetables that can be grown at Indian homes 

Cabbage

Cabbage in the farm

Cabbage is an amazingly versatile cold-weather veggie. This can be a healthy and inexpensive winter vegetable choice for you. Cabbage (Brassica oleracea) belongs to the family Brassicaceae. By providing a space in your winter vegetable garden for this, you can enjoy the spicy taste and crunchy texture of raw cabbage or the sweetness of cooked cabbage.          

Cabbage is not only a tasty vegetable but also an exceptionally healthy one. It has an outstanding nutrient profile and is especially high in vitamin C and vitamin K. With so many potential health benefits, it is easy to see why cabbage deserves some space in your winter vegetable garden.  

Tips to Grow Cabbage

  • Choose well-drained potting soil with rich organic matter
  • You can either raise your plants from seeds or transplants, but while availing seeds and transplants focus on the variety and growing conditions
  • Sow cabbage seeds at ½ inch depth and 1 inch apart
  • After germination thin plants to 18-24 inches apart 
  • Always keep the soil moist but not wet and do not overwater the plants
  • You can feed cabbage plants with organic nutrition supplements such as organic manures and vermicompost.

 

Palak ( Spinach )

Spinach is an annual, winter-season, green leafy vegetable. The leaves and tender shoots are edible. These can be consumed fresh or processed. Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is a superfood that belongs to the family Amaranthaceae. It is loaded with tons of nutrients in a low-calorie package, hence it is everyone’s favorite dietary green leafy vegetable. Dark, leafy green spinach is important for skin, hair, and bone health. Spinach is one of the best plant-based sources of iron and is also rich in health-promoting compounds such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and flavonoids.

Growing spinach is very easy at home, the Indian winter season is just perfect for it.

Tips to Grow Spinach

  • Choose the well-drained growing media that is rich in organic matter 
  • Sow spinach seeds ½ inch deep into the soil with at least 3 - 4 inches of space between seeds. Once they reach a height of about 2 inches, thin the plants to provide sufficient space for their growth
  •  Spinach needs at least 3-4 hours of sunlight. As spinach grows well in cold weather, maintain the soil in moist condition but not wet, so avoid overwatering 
  • Spinach will be ready to harvest within a short period of 45-50 days from the day of sowing 
  • You can get multiple harvests if you leave the crown to grow back, it is possible to get 3 to 4 harvests from each plant. 

 

Carrot

Daucus carota is a popular root vegetable, typically orange in color and other cultivars are varying in color, texture, shape, and length. The edible part of the plant is a taproot. Carrot is a biennial plant that belongs to the family Apiaceae. These vegetables are highly nutritious and tasty too. Carrots are the richest source of beta-carotene, which is a potent antioxidant that benefits your brain, skin, lung, and eye health. This is probably the best-known superpower of carrots.

Tips to grow Carrot

  • Loose, permeable, sandy soil is best for carrots. Planting carrots in compact soil will restrict the proper downward growth of their roots 
  • You can plant these vegetables either on the ground or in containers. But make sure the container is at least 12 inches deep
  • Sow the seeds about ½ of an inch deep and 2 inches apart to reduce overcrowding
  • Once the seedlings are about an inch tall, thin out the plants so that the plants are 3-4 inches apart
  • While harvesting make sure to harvest them at the right stage. Early harvesting may result in bland and flavorless carrots
  • Once they have reached a mature size, the tops will start to push out of the ground. If you can see the carrots on the top, it's time to consider harvesting.

 

Onion

Onions are the most popular, basic ingredient in every kitchen all around the world. We can say Indian cooking is almost incomplete without the use of onion. There is almost no delicious gravy, hot soup, or other dishes that are made without onions. Onion ( Allium cepa ) is a herbaceous cold season plant that belongs to the family Amaryllidaceae. The onion is an edible bulb made up of fleshy modified leaves. The leaves of onions are yellowish, to bluish-green in color. The onion leaves are fleshy, hollow, and cylindrical, with one flattened side.

Onions not only cause watery eyes but also provide health benefits. These are packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, manganese, potassium, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.  Make them a part of your winter vegetable garden to avail of the health benefits including weight loss, lowering the risk of cancer, healthy hair, and glowing skin.

Tips to grow onion

  • Onions grow well in full sunlight and well-drained fertile soil
  • Onions can be planted from sets, transplants, or seeds
  • If you are planting sets, bury them one inch under the soil and 2-6 inches apart
  • When you transplant your seedlings, place at least 6 inches apart
  • If you prefer seeds to grow onions, then sow the seeds at ½ an inch depth and 1 inch apart. Later thin to 4 inches apart. The plants you remove while thinning from a row can be used as green onions
  • You can harvest onions at any stage. If you want a completely matured onion, then harvest when the tops are brown and naturally fall over
  • The soil needs to be moist but with no standing water. Poor drainage can cause root rot of onions.

 

Cauliflower

A cruciferous vegetable, Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea) is one of the most important vegetable crops of India. It is a sun-loving, cool-weather crop that bears large rounded leaves and an immature inflorescence (cluster of flowers) that is  “curd”, the edible part. Cauliflower is naturally high in fiber and Vitamin B. It is also rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients that can give protection against cancer. It also contains fiber to enhance weight loss, digestion, and choline, which is essential for mood, memory, recall, and many other essential nutrients.

Tips to Grow Cauliflower

You may have felt that it is a difficult job to grow cauliflower in your garden. That's only because it has some specific requirements that need to be met. But it’s not difficult once you know what it likes.

  • Choose fertile soil enriched with organic matter which can hold moisture for a long time to prevent “Buttoning”. (Buttoning is a physiological disorder of cauliflower, is identified by the development of small curd)
  • Sow cauliflower seeds at ½ inch depth and 2 - 3 inches apart
  • Cauliflower requires moist soil for robust growth and healthy head formation
  • White cauliflowers should be blanched to keep the head white and to protect the head from rain and too much sun. While green, orange, and purple cultivars need the sun to develop their colors. When the head gets a diameter of about 2 - 3 inches, tie the outer leaves loosely over the developing head with a soft cloth.
  • Cauliflower head will be ready for harvest a week or two weeks after blanching.

     

    Green peas

    Green peas are popular winter-season vegetables, which are part of the legume family Fabaceae. The peas are most commonly the small spherical seeds of the fruit Pisum sativum. Botanically peas are quick-growing herbaceous vine rich in essential vitamins and antioxidants like Vitamin K, C, and E. Green peas are a good source of plant-based proteins and they also give protection against some chronic illnesses such as heart disease and cancer. Peas will be most productive if they have a supportive structure to climb.

    Tips to Grow Green peas

    • Choose the location that at least gets 6-8 hours of sunlight 
    • Peas prefer well-drained soil with rich organic matter
    • Sow the seeds at 1-inch depth and 1 - 2 inches apart
    • They need a good amount of water especially at the pod formation stage
    • Harvest the peas when pods of them appear to be swelling with rounded pea forms visible.

     

    Radish

    Radishes are not only the popular vegetables but they are the healthiest vegetables also. Raphanus sativus is a group of root vegetables grown for their crunchy roots of peppery taste. They can be eaten fresh or cooked too. The leaves of radishes have been used to treat jaundice, sore throat, and blood sugar issues. These root vegetables contain a good amount of vitamins, minerals, and nutritional compounds that can positively affect your health.

    Tips to Grow Radish

    • Choose the spot where they can get an adequate amount of sunlight 
    • Loose, permeable, well-drained soil should not be compacted, as planting in compact soil will make it difficult for the downward growth of their roots
    • Sow the seeds at depth of about ½ inch and 1 - 2 inches apart
    • Thin the seedlings to 1 - 4 inches apart after reaching 2 - 3 inches height
    • Supply radishes with an adequate amount of water so they can grow quickly
    • Harvest roots as soon as they have reached approximately 1 inch in diameter across the soil surface.

     

    Nutrient management in Winter Vegetable garden

    Healthy soil is the one that affects the optimum growth of the vegetables in your garden. For the healthy growth of the plants, many essential components are required along with healthy and fertile soil. Even if you are lucky enough to get great gardening soil, as your plants grow, they absorb nutrients and leave the soil less fertile. To fill up lost nutrients again in the soil, you need to provide some extra food to it. 

    • Plants require primary macronutrients and some additional nutrients for their optimum growth. Among them, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium are the three primary macronutrients, and Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfur are the three secondary macronutrients that play a very important role in a plant’s growth. So, you need to choose the fertilizer by keeping all these in consideration. 

    • We highly recommend the use of organic fertilizers as they are not only packed with all these essential nutrients but also stimulate beneficial soil microorganisms, improving the texture and structure of the soil. Soil microbes play an important role in converting organic fertilizers into soluble nutrients that can be easily absorbed by plants.
    • The plants need extra food at the time of planting, flowering, and fruiting. It is recommended to apply fertilizers every four to six weeks after planting. When it comes to the best time to apply fertilizer, we can say early morning and late evening to maximize the usage of nutrients.

     

    Watering in Vegetable garden

    Watering is one of the important key factors of any successful vegetable garden. Water acts as a carrier for the movement of nutrients from the soil to plants.  But the concept of watering in the vegetable garden has always been tricky.

    Each area requires a different amount of water according to its different climatic conditions. Sunny and dry weather of summer season tends to require more water compared to cold weather in winter season. So, don’t water your plants blindly without thinking. It is always better to check the moisture level of the soil before watering it. When the soil sticks in your hand, it is moist enough, but if it barely sticks to your hand, looks dry and cracky, then go and grab your water can.

    • Vegetables in winter season don't need much water as they do in the summer. But they need deep watering few times a month
    • It is always best to water your plants in the early morning or late evening, but try to avoid the middle of the day. 
    • Watering in the early morning is always best during winter season, as it allows the plants to absorb water properly and foliage to dry quickly, which discourages fungal growth
    • If you don’t have time to water in the early morning, then the late evening will work for you rather than winter. Because moisture won’t evaporate too fast, hence plants will get enough time to absorb water
    • Watering at the base of the plants is always best as it delivers the water directly to the roots where it is needed.
    • Avoid watering on the leaves as it increases the risk of fungal growth and other leaf diseases.

     

    Pest management in Winter Vegetable garden

    All those who love gardening should be ready to face the pests, and that's a part of every gardener’s life. As garden lovers, we should learn some strategies to deal with these uninvited guests. Once you are going to grow vegetables organically, you will need to figure out some organic pest control methods as vegetable plants are more prone to various kinds of pest infestation.

    Here, we have listed the most common and destructive vegetable garden pests.

     

    Aphids

    Aphids are usually small, pear-shaped insects with long sucking types of mouthparts. They suck sap from the leaves and stems causing leaf curling and stunted plant growth. They can also transmit some diseases and sooty mold.

    Common host plants - Cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, and beans.

     

    Leaf miners

    Tiny insects whose larvae feed under the surface of leaves leaving a meandering track. Their feeding causes a lot of healthy tissue and becomes infected with the disease.

    Common host plants - Tomatoes, onions, beans, peas, cucumber, and some leafy vegetables.

     

    Thrips

    Adults are too tiny straw-colored or black slender insects. Thrips usually hide under the leaves or in barks. The infestation results in tiny spots, lesions, and downward leaf curling.

    Common host plants - Onions, tomatoes, beans, capsicums, and cucumbers. 

     

    Cutworms 

    Cutworms are moth larvae that hide under the soil during the day, coming out in the dark to feed on plants. As their name suggests, they cut the stems and the leaves of crops and seedlings.

    Common host plants - Beans, cabbage, carrots, peas, and tomatoes.

     

    Whiteflies

    These are soft-bodied, winged insects. Whiteflies are somewhat triangular in shape and are often found in clusters on the underside of the leaves. They feed on the sap of the leaves, hence leaves will wilt, turn pale or yellow and the growth of the plant will be stunted.  

    Common host plants - Beans, cabbage, cucumber, and tomatoes.

     

    Slugs and snails

    Slugs and snails are among the most destructive pests in vegetable gardens. Typically they are not insects but ground-dwelling mollusks. They feed on the smooth edges of leaves and leave irregular holes behind.

    Common host plants- Slugs and snails feed on a wide variety of plants including seeds, tubers, leaves, and fruits.

     

    • The first step to control pests in your garden is handpicking. Remove the pests by hand, if you see them and immediately dispose them. You can also pluck the pest-infected plant parts like leaves and dispose of them to prevent further spread.

    • Using neem oil is another most effective pest control measure. Neem oil can be used to control many sucking pests such as mealybugs, aphids, thrips mites, and whiteflies. It can be used as a foliar spray and also as a soil drench. While spraying neem oil be sure to cover both sides of the leaves of affected plants. Try to spray neem oil in the early morning or late evening, when the pollinators are not out as much.

    • Growing garlic as a companion crop in your garden can be a great preventive measure to save your vegetables from pests and harmful pesticides. You can also use garlic water as an eco-friendly repellent against borers, weevils, bugs, and fruit flies. The heavy pungent smell of garlic is due to the presence of sulfur compound allicin, this is what makes garlic work so well against pests.

     

    There is nothing like growing and harvesting food from your own vegetable garden. You can enjoy the journey of a small seed that turns into food on your dining table. It can be the best way to teach your children about the importance of nature and food. The organic vegetable garden is a great way to save our mother nature from harmful chemicals and also it helps us to save ourselves from food-borne illness. So, let’s take initiative to be self-reliant and sustainable by growing our own veggies.

     

    Frequently asked questions

    1. What is the purpose of thinning?

    Thinning is a practice of removing some extra plants, to provide plants with sufficient space so that they can receive all the requirements for their growth without having to compete with other seedlings.

     

    2. Why is Blanching Necessary for Cauliflower?

    Blanching in cauliflower is done to maintain the white color of the head or curd. This practice stops the enzyme actions, which otherwise cause loss of flavor, color, and texture.

     

    3. What are the causes for Buttoning in Cauliflower?

    Buttoning is generally known as the development of small curd. Several factors are responsible for this physiological disorder such as insufficient moisture supply, waterlogging, poor nitrogen supply, hot and dry weather.

     

    4. What are cold-weather crops?

    Cold weather crops germinate in cold soil and mature with cool weather and a short period of daylight. These vegetables not only withstand cold temperatures, but also they need them to germinate, grow, set fruit, and mature.

     

    5. Watering in Vegetable garden

    Watering in the vegetable garden is always tricky task. Each climate requires a different amount of water according to the weather. Sunny weather tends to require more water compared to cold weather. So, it is a good idea to check the soil’s moisture level before watering.

     

    6. What is the best time to water your winter vegetable garden?

    The very best time to water plants is in the early morning.

     

    7. What type of soil is best to grow root vegetables?

    Loose, permeable sandy soil is best for root vegetables. This type of soil will make the downward growth of the roots easy. Planting root vegetables in compact soil will make it more difficult for the downward growth of the roots.

     

    8. Why do we need well-drained soil for plants?

    Soil drainage is a very important factor. Well-drained soils do not drain too quickly or too slowly, they allow water to drain at a moderate rate. So the plants will get enough time to absorb water.

     

    9. Which vegetable grows faster in winter?

    Radishes are one of the fastest vegetables you can grow in winter. They can be grown all year round. They are ready to harvest after about 4 - 5 weeks of sowing.

     

    10. What are the signs of overwatering?

    • Soil is wet but the plant looks wilted
    • The leaves turn brown and wilt
    • Yellow falling leaves
    • Root rot of the plant.

     

     

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    2 comments

    • Posted on by Meme Chacko

      Very useful tips.
      Thanks.
      C.

    • Posted on by Mansoor Patrawalla

      Very perfect information regards to winter vegetables, even normal person can have his/her own organic vegetables.
      Thanks and request to send such information for all calendar months.

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