Should I feed soil for winter plants?

You might see general gardening advice suggesting that there is no need to feed plants in the winter as they are not actively growing. This period of non-growth tends to kick in when temperatures fall below 5c.

However, we’d advise that there are some exceptions to the notion of not feeding the soil in the winter veg plot. These are as follows:

  1. In the greenhouse/polytunnel – You would hope that temperatures will remain high enough that there is still some growth, and feeding the soil at least once over winter will replenish nutrients, keep plants healthy and help them to ward off fungal disease.
  2. In shallow planters/veg trugs – if you’re growing in compost-filled planters, then you can be fairly confident that nutrients will have been quite depleted by now. Have a look at your plants – if they’re not as large as expected, or if they have been growing more slowly than plants in the ground, then lack of nutrients may well be the cause and giving them a feed now will not harm, but may boost.
  3. In milder areas – if you live in a milder part of the country, like us here in Cornwall, you may find the temperatures at the moment mean that plants are still growing. If this is the case, then there is no reason not to give a liquid feed to give your veggies a little boost, especially those quicker growers, like winter salad leaves, spinach and chard.