Most people believe that the vegetable gardening season ends in September and starts all over in April or May. While this may certainly be the time with the most agreeable temperatures – where you will spend more time outside – it isn’t true that winter is a “dead season“. Even though most people consider winter to be a time of rest for the garden, you can be successful at winter gardening, if you learn the best way to grow a garden in the middle of the winter.
During the winter, most people just prepare their garden for the coming spring. Once they get their garden prepped for the next season, they sit back and relax until the spring.
Instead of just preparing your soil for the spring you can, in fact, practice winter gardening and continue to grow vegetables.
In this article, I will write mainly about two points: the use of season extension techniques for extending the “warmer” season; and which crops you can grow now (in winter) to generate yields in spring.
How can I continue to grow plants even though it gets cold?
You can use season extension techniques for winter gardening to maintain warm-ness for your plants and to protect them from wind and snow damage. This can be:
You can create small row covers just large enough to cover our plants; or you can create a greenhouse, that you’re able to enter and work inside.
The benefits of these systems are, of course, that you use them to grow summer fruits and vegetables longer into the fall to get a larger harvest. I have successfully grown cucumbers and zucchini well into December using these methods. I have also grown hot peppers such as Habaneros that produced a harvest in late January.
How to grow vegetables in winter?
There are winter gardening vegetables that can be planted even in late fall or in the winter months. In fact, some plants are meant to be planted in late fall and early winter for over wintering. This over-wintering process works great for getting an early harvest of root crops or spinach.
Before planting any seeds, you should always clear your beds of all dead plant material (also autumn foliage), crack the ground open, add compost to prep the bed for planting. You can use organic fertilizers if your soil has been grown heavily during the preceding year.
Typical cold-hardy plants are the following
You should not grow tubers like potatoes too early in the year because they will rot. If, however, you combine the two tips I gave you in this article (cold covers & cold season plants), you can even grow potatoes before their time is due and transplant them into your “normal” beds once the weather gets warm again.
I hope this post motivates you to try winter gardening yourself. I recommend taking a bottle of warm tea along if you’re feeling cold icon wink winter gardening – How to grow vegetables in winter?
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