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Winter has always been considered a time of culinary limitations, as many plants simply stop growing in the cold and with less sunlight. Even if international trade means that almost every vegetable is available at any time of the year, self-catering people in particular repeatedly encounter bottlenecks in the variety of their menus in winter. Well-established winter vegetables, which have often been forgotten due to the diversity of the international offer, provide a remedy.

What are winter vegetables?

Winter vegetables are types of vegetables that, due to various properties, are ideal for supplying home-grown vegetables during the winter period. On the one hand, there can be types of vegetables that are ideal for storage until well into the winter. Other types of vegetables, on the other hand, still grow in the home garden even in autumn and winter and can therefore be harvested immediately before consumption. Various vegetables even require an initial period of frost before they are suitable for consumption.

Suitable winter vegetables


A colorful variety from white to red

The genus Brassica is commonly known to us as "cabbage". It is subdivided into a large number of species that thrive here and are good for growing as vegetables for the autumn and winter months. However, in terms of appearance, cultivation and later preparation, the various types of cabbage differ considerably. However, all of them are well suited as winter vegetables and at the same time healthy and nutritious. Since the individual vegetables differ primarily in the development of the above-ground, edible plant components, the requirements for the soil and the locations are usually comparable.

tip: Cabbage varieties love sunny locations and prefer nutrient-rich soil with high humidity.

Cabbage varieties from B-G


  • Cultivation/ sowing: Outdoors from April, in a frost-protected greenhouse from February
  • Harvest time: autumn
  • Pests: cabbage white and cabbage fly, protection by close-meshed fly net
  • Storage: conditionally storable for several days to weeks in dry and light-protected storage
  • Consumption: inflorescences in unopened form; Can be eaten raw and cooked, but preferably in cooked form; contains a high proportion of vitamin C and minerals, making it particularly healthy as a vegetable


  • Cultivation/ Sowing: Depending on the location (outdoor or greenhouse) February to April
  • Harvest time: late summer to late autumn
  • Pests: flea beetles, vegetable bug, cabbage white; Protection by close-meshed fly net
  • Storage: Stored cool and dry for a few days to a few weeks
  • Consumption: inflorescences with formed but not yet fully opened bud; Can be eaten raw or cooked, contains numerous minerals and other secondary plant substances


  • Cultivation/ Sowing: From May in the cold frame
  • Harvest time: autumn to winter after the first frost
  • Pests: like other head-forming cabbages
  • Storage: refrigerated for only a few days
  • Consumption: Leaves in cooked form as a vegetable, high in fiber and minerals

Cabbage varieties from R-W


Romanesco is associated with cauliflower, but is actually a cross between cauliflower and broccoli. In terms of cultivation, storage and consumption, it corresponds to the other types of cauliflower and broccoli

Brussels sprouts

  • Cultivation/ Sowing: Sowing March to April
  • Harvest time: November to December, therefore ideal winter vegetables
  • Pests: cabbage white, aphids, flower flies, clubroot disease; Remedy with a close-meshed fly net or pesticides; Protection against the cabbage white by the Brussels sprouts themselves by secreting scents for predators of the cabbage white larvae
  • Storage: conditional, due to extensive frost hardiness, harvest immediately before consumption
  • Consumption: buds in the first year of growth before they sprout after dormancy; cooked, very healthy due to the high potassium and vitamin C content

Red cabbage / white cabbage / pointed cabbage / savoy cabbage

  • Cultivation/ sowing: spring after the end of the frost period
  • Harvest time: early varieties from June, late varieties until December (well suited as a winter vegetable)
  • Pests: cabbage white, aphids, flower flies, remedy with close-meshed fly nets or pesticides
  • Storage: cool, dry and dark, can be stored very well
  • Consumption: Leaves raw as a salad and cooked as a vegetable / Savoy cabbage only cooked, high fiber and vitamin C content

The coloring of the red cabbage depends heavily on the pH value of the soil, but also on how it is prepared later. Because acidic soil or acidic ingredients when cooking cause a strong red colouration, if it settles in the alkaline range, the color remains bluish to purple. Whereas white cabbage is traditionally used as part of a fermentation process to preserve and produce sauerkraut. Savoy differs from the other head-forming species in its curly, sometimes less fleshy leaves.

root vegetable

Root vegetables are winter vegetables in which the subterranean parts of the plant are consumed. Since these parts of the plant have to be developed particularly strongly, root vegetables are preferred loose and permeable soils with a high sand content. Sufficient moisture is required at least during the phase in which the roots are created. Since the root generally has a storage function for minerals and vitamins in addition to the supply function, root vegetables are very rich in nutrients and therefore healthy.

Root vegetables from K-S

celery root

  • Cultivation/ sowing: No later than the end of March as light germinators, i.e. without covering the seed with soil
  • Harvest time: until late autumn, but before the first strong frost periods
  • Pests: voles, celery fly; Remedy with vole traps and fine-meshed fly nets
  • Storage: dry, cold and dark for several weeks to months
  • Consumption: raw or cooked, very healthy due to the high potassium content


  • Cultivation/ seeding: all year round after the end of the frost period
  • Harvest time: all year round in the frost-free period
  • Pests: greedy aphid, root fly, protection by close-meshed fly net
  • Storage: Can be stored for up to several months at temperatures below 2 °C and in a dry and dark place
  • Consumption: Roots as raw food or cooked, high in beta-carotene


  • Cultivation/sowing: End of February to mid-March at the latest, if sowed later, less strong root development and strong branching of the actual taproot
  • Harvest time: End of October to April of the following year, making it ideal as a frost-hardy winter vegetable that can always be harvested fresh throughout the frost period
  • Pests: powdery mildew; voles; Remedied by pesticides and vole traps
  • Storage: only a few days, but hardly necessary due to the high frost resistance
  • Consumption: cooked as a vegetable, very healthy due to the high proportion of potassium, calcium and magnesium


  • Cultivation/ sowing: after the last frost period in spring around March - April
  • Harvest time: Autumn to winter, beets should be harvested and stored before the first hard frost phases
  • Pests: flea beetles, cabbage whites, clubroot disease; generally very robust and resistant to pests
  • Storage: at low temperatures, dry and protected from light, possible for up to several months; classic storage variant in earth heaps
  • Consumption: Roots in cooked form as a vegetable, high content of glucose, vitamins and minerals

Root Vegetables by T-W

Jerusalem Artichoke

  • Cultivation/ Sowing: February to April
  • Harvest time: from November after the shoots have died until March/April, but always before the tubers sprout again
  • Pests: very resistant to diseases and pests, powdery mildew is common but only worth fighting in large crops
  • Storage: not necessary due to the long harvest time
  • Consumption: as raw food or cooked as a vegetable, with a high proportion of fiber and minerals

root parsley

  • Cultivation/ Sowing: March and April with germination in the following 15 to 20 days
  • Harvest time: November to December
  • Pests: greedy aphid, root fly, protection by close-meshed fly net
  • Storage: can be stored in uncleaned form immediately after harvesting, in moist sand and at temperatures below 2 °C for up to six months,
  • Consumption: raw or cooked, high in calcium and vitamin C

allium plants


  • Cultivation/ sowing: March to April outdoors
  • Harvest time: until winter
  • Pests: onion thrips; Protection by close-meshed fly nets
  • Storage: not required as leeks are very frost resistant and can be harvested throughout the winter
  • Consumption: mostly cooked in raw form because of the flatulent effect; contains vitamins C and K, as well as folic acid


  • Cultivation/ sowing: March to early April on dry soil
  • Harvest time: August to October
  • Pests: onion thrips; Protection by close-meshed fly nets
  • Storage: dry, cool and dark for up to several weeks and months; Onions from seed last longer than rearing from onion sets
  • Consumption: raw or cooked, can cause flatulence in raw form; contain potassium and calcium

More winter vegetables


Winter lettuce with unusual growth

  • Cultivation/ Sowing: The sowing takes place between May and July, the harvest
  • Harvest time: beet harvest between September and November, actual harvest of the edible shoots throughout the winter
  • Pests: aphids; Controlled primarily by pesticides
  • Storage: longer storage is not possible, but not necessary due to the fresh shoots in the stored state
  • Consumption: sprouts as a salad, or cooked as a vegetable; high content of potassium, calcium and phosphorus

However, chicory cannot only be grown in the traditional way like other vegetables. Because after the harvest of the edible plant heads, the beets of the chicory plant are stored standing in complete darkness. Thus, at moderate temperatures and high humidity, the beets will sprout again within 20-25 days and once again form the well-known, whitish heads with a pointed, dense growth habit. Because by sprouting out again in a controlled environment, chicory can also be grown well in cellars as a self-sufficiency and can therefore be harvested directly from the beet as a perfect fresh winter vegetable. The shoots grown during winter storage appear lighter due to the lack of light and exhibit less bitter substances than the conventionally harvested heads during the summer growth phase.


not a true winter vegetable, but can be stored throughout the winter

  • Latin name: Solanum tuberosum
  • Appearance: Herbaceous, ground-level plant with loose foliage and fleshy shoots
  • Cultivation: not sown in spring between March and May, but planted; the potato tuber serves as the basis from which a new plant sprout.
  • Pests: Colorado potato beetle; disease potato blight; Pesticide control
  • Harvest time: August to October after the above-ground parts of the plant have died
  • Storage: Storage at low temperatures, dry and protected from light, is possible for many months
  • Consumption: tubers only in cooked form, high content of carbohydrates and minerals

In contrast to other root vegetables, the potato does not develop a tuber, but the root network develops into a potato tuber in many areas. The yield per plant of this vegetable is far above the yield of other, comparable plants.

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