Have you ever wondered if you can garden any time other than summer? Well, the short answer is yes! The slightly longer is that you can garden in ANY season, it will just look different. I’ve already covered fall gardening, this month we are covering winter gardening.
Things to Consider for Winter Gardening
A winter garden will need more protection than your typical summer garden, and even a fall garden. While frost may pose a threat in a fall garden, actual snow is a likely possibility in many parts of the US. If you are in an area that receives a lot of snowfall each year, your winter garden is likely to need more prep.
You need to consider whether you are able to get outside regularly in the winter. Your garden will still need some tending and you will have to be outside to actually harvest anything you grow as well.
The good news is that you are much less likely to have pest problems in a winter garden because most pests are hibernating.
How to Grow a Winter Garden
As with any type of garden, you need to carefully consider your winter garden’s location. The types of things you can grow in the winter do not require as much sunlight as summer’s fruits, but some sunlight is necessary for plant growth.
To protect your winter garden, you are going to need to cover it. This can be done with clear plastic sheeting and wire brackets or a cold frame. Simply put, a cold frame is a bottomless box with a see through lid, typically an old window. You place this over your garden spot and plant directly in the ground.
You will need to remove excessive snow build up from your sheeting or cold frame so the sunlight can get through to the plants. The snow around the sides of the box will provide some insulation to keep the heat that builds up in the box from escaping. This is good for your plants.
What to Grow in a Winter Garden
So what can you actually grow in a winter garden? Anything that doesn’t need long, hot days to produce fruit. Tomatoes and peppers are out (unless you have a warm greenhouse), but there are plenty of other things that you can grow. Here’s a sampling:
- salad greens – loose leaf lettuces, arugula, dandelion greens
- green onions
- root vegetables – carrots, parsnips, beets, radishes, turnips
More Resources for Winter Gardening
For more detailed information, I recommend sitting down with a good book to learn more. Here are a couple I can recommend:
- The Year Round Vegetable Gardener – This writer gardens in Maine all year. She knows how to garden in tough conditions.
- The Winter Harvest Handbook – Eliot Coleman is kind of like the father of modern year round gardening. He has several excellent books, but this one is specific to winter gardening.