QUESTION: What can you grow in a winter garden? Can you still grow some things, or do you have to wait for spring again? Lisette F
ANSWER: You might think that you can’t grow much in the dead of winter. I’ll argue that where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Some vegetables can be grown with a heavy layer of mulch around them for insulation from the cold. Other crops are tough and actually thrive from the chill.
While other crops must be grown in a cold frame. Here are your options for each of these categories:
Vegetables Requiring Mulch for the Winter Garden
Beets, garlic, cabbage, onions, parsnips, and carrots should thrive in a winter garden if the roots are covered with a thick layer of mulch.
This will insulate the roots and protect the plant from the cold temperatures. Carrots will become sweeter with frost.
However, they won’t continue to grow once the temperatures drop. Even if you live where there’s snow on the ground during the bulk of winter, place stakes around your carrot bed.
This way, when you’re ready to eat the carrots, you can find them under the snow. Storing carrots in the ground over winter is how many people choose to store their carrots since the weather tends to help their flavor.
Onions can be grown over the winter but be sure to pick hardy varieties. These will only need to be mulched if the temperatures go negative.
If these vegetables sound like something you’d like to enjoy over the winter months, don’t forget to add the mulch as the temperatures decrease in your area.
Vegetables Requiring a Cold Frame for the Winter Garden
There are some vegetables which can handle colder weather, but they don’t like frost. Therefore, they need a cold frame to protect them.
Grow these vegetables in a cold frame over winter:
· Swiss chard
A cold frame doesn’t need to be anything fancy. It could be a sheet of plastic, like a row cover, over crops planted in the ground.
You could also grow these vegetables in an unheated greenhouse. Some people even make cold frames by placing old windows, on hinges, over a raised bed.
Get your inspiration and decide how you can protect these crops over winter while still enjoying their bounty.
Vegetables Which Thrive in a Winter Garden
There are some plants which could care less about the temperatures outdoors. In fact, they seem to thrive in harsher conditions.
The following plants can be grown using a variety of gardening methods during winter:
· English peas
These vegetables can handle freezing temperatures as low as 25-degrees Fahrenheit. If the weather gets much colder, cover them with a makeshift cold frame during those extremely brutal times.
Hopefully this inspires you to attempt gardening year-round. Having fresh vegetables, especially during the winter, can be a great pick-me-up.
Not to mention, these vegetables can sometimes make the best winter soups. Pick the vegetables and growing methods which work best for you. Then try your hand at growing some of these cold-hardy crops.
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