For our gardening geeks out there - don't limit yourself to the summer months. Here is a quick list of tips to tackle the colder months, and plants that can withstand the chilling temps.
1. Work with the Climate
Should you only grow certain vegetables in certain climates? Not necessarily! using a winter-protection device can broaden your gardening seasons. A simple greenhouse, a layer or two of floating row cover, or a quick-hoop system can make all the difference in the world.
2. Leaf it Up!
Did you know that plants like spinach will produce leaves in winter? Spinach can survive in a non-heated greenhouse under a layer of row cover. Although lettuce isn't as frost-tolerant as spinach, it can make a great winter crop here on the west coast. Leaf lettuce is hardy and as long as you get a seed mix that is mildew-resistant, you can grow in more humid environments. Plants like Kale are also cold-resistant and will produce leaves all winter long - just make sure to research the best kinds to use for winter!
3. Give Plants a Head Start
Start planting your crop in the first week of November when there is still a bit of warmth to give your plants a head start to better thrive in the colder, darker season.
4. Root it Up!
In areas with minimal freezing, crops like carrots, turnips, and leeks will grow relatively simply in an unheated greenhouse. Just pack your frame with loose hay or straw. After several frosts, carrots are a treat - like candy! The cold weather causes natural sugars to step up. Yum!
Winter gardening doesn't have to be a chore! The pace is a bit slower, but the results can be wonderful. Just keep an eye on the types of seeds you're buying, become one with the climate, and carefully choose the types of plants you are growing. Have a plan!