Plants you can leave in over autumn/winter

You don’t need to pull up all your plants at the end of the season…Here’s a useful list detailing the plants that you can happily leave in the ground as we head deeper into autumn and eventually winter.

Spinach & Chard

If they’re not going to seed, then leave them in the ground so that you can enjoy a crop through autumn and hopefully into winter. It’s a good tactic to plant a new batch now which should be ready to harvest just as these more mature plants come to an end.


Kale will keep on going and if the plants haven’t reached full maturity yet, then you may as well leave them to grow over the next few months. Keep harvesting the leaves as you want them, and when the plants produce broccoli like florets you’ll know they’re done. Plant kale plugs now so that when this happens you’ll have new plants to harvest from.

Cabbages & Sprouts

You can leave these in the ground until you’re ready to harvest them. They’ll tolerate frost no problem. Just make sure you keep them protected from slugs, caterpillars and birds.

Parsnip, Celeriac, Swede & Turnip

These root veggies will all sit in the soil quite happily right through winter, and improve in flavour too. We’d recommend mulching them though, so that the crowns of the roots are not exposed, to prevent disease.

Rocket, Mizuna & Endives

If you planted these late in the season you may find they keep going for a couple more months. If they’ve gone to seed though, then it is best to pull them up (wild rocket in particular will re-seed very quickly!) These can all be planted up in Sept/Oct as well, so that by the time they go over you have fresh plants to harvest from.


Pull leeks up as you want to use them – they will survive the winter. The only thing to be conscious of is that they can bolt and produce a flower/seedhead. At this stage, the stem becomes very tough and is not good for eating – so if you see signs of a bud forming at the top of the plant, it is better to pull it up and use it in the kitchen asap.