Vegetables such as lambs lettuce, spinach, winter onion, leek, Brussel sprouts and curly kale can remain on the beds in winter. While lambs lettuce continues to grow in mild winter temperatures and therefore should not be covered, it is a good idea to give vegetables such as leek some frost protection. You can easily harvest and store root and tuberous vegetables in a cool, damp cellar room, preferably at approx. 5° C. Storing in the same room as fruit is not recommended as vapours from fruit significantly reduce the storage life of vegetables.
If the vegetable bed is already frozen, you should not touch or harvest the vegetables as tissue damage may occur even at the lightest touch and lead to rotting.
The best time to do a pH test on your soil is after harvesting the vegetable bed. This allows you to determine the acidity of the soil. Take soil from at least five different places in the bed (depth of 0-30 cm) and mix them. The easiest and fastest way to determine the acidity of the soil is using a pH soil testing kit. If the soil is excessively acidic, add lime now to help it to adjust. Ask at your garden centre for a suitable product.
You can improve the structure and water-retaining capacity of light soils by using compost. It also increases the storage capacity for plant nutrients. Plants simply feel better and show improved growth.
You can still grow green manure plants as long as the ground is not frozen. Select plants that can also germinate at low temperatures. Winter vetch or winter wheat are also suitable.