Winter Wellness: plant a soup garden

Chilly weather is on the way…. get ready by growing winter food

For the gardener each season has highlights, and winter is no different. In Auckland the winter is so mild that we can fortunately grow a lot of vegetables, and don’t have to spend the autumn pickling and preserving. One year of Siberian winter was enough for me, that’s for sure!

Soup ideas — make your own rotating recipe list

I have a few favourite soup recipes, but in the middle of winter, when it’s cold, wet and dark, I often forget the variety and fall back on just a few, and quickly get bored. When I’m bored by my food, I lose the incentive to cook, and it becomes a downwards spiral towards my form of fast food — frozen fish, hash browns, and green smoothies for nutrients. That is NOT my ideal diet, so this year I’m embracing the soup garden instead.

Types of soup — the Blue Borage favourites (with what vegetables to grow)

Russian borschch
This brings back such fond memories of time in Russia, it’s almost good enough to eat every day. The secret is good quality stock, and using lots of liquid, to get the red soup for next day leftovers.

  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Dill
  • Carrot
  • Cabbage
  • Potato
  • Sorrel (great as a substitute for the final touch of a squeeze of lemon juice)
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Carrot
  • Leek
  • Onion
  • Carrot
  • Coriander
  • Carrot
  • Bok choy
  • Pak Choi
  • Spring onion
  • Daikon
  • Gobo (burdock root)

Gina’s Mexican Leek Soup

This soup is so satisfying and yum! You can substitute other beans, kale or add leftover corn. This will make about 3–4 small bowls so, it is easy to add more stock, more cream to bulk it up. The addition of corn and even a second can of beans will do the trick!

Next recipe: Maryma’s Off the Cuff Pumpkin Soup

Maryma is a local foodie teaching vegan and raw food preparation, yoga and meditation. You’ll find her on social media at Innourish.

Maryma’s Off The Cuff Pumpkin Soup


Vegetables for Winter Soups: Planting List

Onions, Carrots Leek, Broccoli, Beetroot, Daikon, Sorrel, Spring Onion,
Bok choy, Pak choy, Cabbage
Gobo (Burdock Root), Coriander, Parsley, Celery, Cauliflower, Dill, Garlic, Spinach, Fennel, Onion weed, Garlic chives, Society Garlic, Chives

Starting a new garden from scratch: the low cost, no dig method.

I don’t have time for double digging. But more than time efficiency, I don’t like disturbing the soil — there’s so much life under our feet, that if you want a beautiful clean surface, why not create it on top of a garden bed?

  1. Some sticks to lay in the bottom.
  2. Chicken manure, mixed with all that the chickens have been scratching in in the chicken run — it was summery, so this was quite dry.
  3. Nikau palm fronds were put in the bottom.

Let’s talk about spacing: bio intensive planting technique

When you look at a seed packet, it will often have spacing recommendations, e.g. for cabbages it’s 50cm. Say you have a garden bed that is 1m x 1m. You will have space for four cabbages. It doesn’t seem like much!!

Where to get plants?

Can you grow from seed? That’s the ultimate goal for most home gardeners, but failing that ask around and see if you have neighbours with excess to share or sell.

Compost Coach based in Titirangi, West Auckland, New Zealand. Using biodynamics to help home gardeners make top quality soil.