Why don’t more people garden in the fall and winter? Even in places like MI, you can do kale and many root veggies over the winter (though, in those places, some people still have root cellars, which are just as effective). Here in VA, there’s no good reason why more of those who do summer gardening don’t carry it into winter.
We can’t cold store here until fairly late, because it’s just too warm and we have no root cellar or basement; but, lots of things will stay in the ground through most, if not all, of the winter with very little effort. We’re doing several varieties of kale, beets, turnips, spinach, and radishes, which will all get left in the ground well past our first hard frost. Some of it will eventually be pulled to come inside to the cold storage, some will get straw piled over it to hold until we want to dig it out. Some of it will just hang out all winter and defy the cold. In this way, we’ll have fresh stuff through a large part of the winter.
To get there, though, we have some prep work to do. We tilled a larger part of the yard, since our garden this year was fairly small to start with. We laid landscape cloth to keep some of the weeds down, as well as to absorb the heat and rain we have left this year, which will help the seeds sprout and grow quickly. Later this week, I’ll be pulling the rest of my basil and many of the early- and mid-season tomatoes. The late tomatoes will get left in, the fruit to be harvested just before frost and wrapped in newspaper to go into cold storage for slow ripening. The pepper will get pulled up, and the cukes came out a few weeks ago. Some of the herbs will get transplanted to pots to come inside so they can be used all winter long.
I’m looking forward to our winter produce, even though I had to go out and plant today in the rain. It’ll be worth the muddy shoes now to have fresh greens in February!
- Garden Therapy: Planting Winter Gardens (casasugar.com)
- Winter Vegetable Gardening Outdoors (urbangardensolutions.wordpress.com)
- Out with the Kale, in with the Kale (winterbounty.wordpress.com)
- Timing Fall Crops [Casaubon’s Book] (scienceblogs.com)