Many gardeners may put away their shovels and sheers when the summer ends, but that’s no reason to stop growing delicious vegetables. Although there is a small and select group of vegetables that both survive and thrive during the colder months, your winter garden can include a wide variety of edible, delectable plant varieties. Growing vegetables in the winter isn’t a much difference processing from gardening in the summer, except for the fact that you will have to deal with brisker temperatures. Water, fertilizer and plenty of weeding will be needed if you want your winter vegetables to grow. To make things easier, here’s how to choose and grow the five winter vegetables that should be included in every home garden.
Choosing The Right Winter Crops
The majority of plants grown for human consumption do best when the weather is warm, slightly humid and sunny. While you can still get plenty of sun and condensation in the winter, the cold air can effectively kill off any crops that are not hardy or thoroughly protected. Choosing plants that will continue to grow through snowstorms and frost will enable you to produce fresh vegetables all 12 months of the year.
Bold Collard Greens
Collards are a staple in many people’s diet, and they are often sourced from local supermarkets rather than grown locally. This green leafy plant is one of the easiest vegetables to grow. As long as you plant them at the right time of year, you can enjoy a bountiful winter collard green harvest.
Leeks appear in a number of gourmet dishes, adding its signature flavor and aroma to any food that it touches. Growing leeks in the winter or any other time of the year is a bit tough as you’ll need to dig deep and space the plants out correctly. On the other hand, leeks are strong and enduring, so once they’ve taken root you can sit back and watch them grow on their own.
Planting cauliflower in the winter will provide your garden with classic vegetable for your enjoyment. You will need to start growing your cauliflower plants indoors before they can be moved to your outdoor winter garden. This plant yields a healthy sized harvest that is full of fiber and beneficial vitamins.
Winter Squash Treats
Squash is abundant in the fall and winter. In fact, there is a whole variety of wintertime squashes that are only grown when temperatures fall below a specific temperature. Add squash to your winter crops and prepare savory soups and squash based stews whenever you want.
Cabbage and even its miniature variety, brussel spouts, do wonderfully in the winter. Not only will you have a wintertime garden that is colorful, you will have the chance to enjoy this versatile vegetable. Savoy cabbage is one of the various types of plants that you can plant and harvest in winter.
Caring For Your Vegetables In The Winter
Planting and caring for vegetables in your winter garden may require you to change the format of your garden, meaning that you may end up planting each vegetable in a unique and unfamiliar manner. For example, you might plant your vegetables in narrow rows so that they are protected from frost damage more effectively. A green house and even small plant protection tents may also be used to help encourage winter plants to grow. You will need to prune, water and care for you winter vegetables as normal in the weeks before harvest.
Harvesting Winter Crops
For many, harvesting the vegetables that you have cared for over the course of several months is the most exciting part of the process. You can use a calendar to keep track of which plants should be harvested, or you can use visual cues to let you know when the time is right. Each individual plant is going to need to be harvested according to its own timetable, but if you plant your crops in the correct manner you may end up with several different kinds of winter vegetables on your table at the same time.
Only the most dedicated gardeners are willing to brave the brutal winter weather in an effort to plant, tend to and grow their plants when it gets cold outside. Follow a low maintenance daily gardening routine and keep a close eye on how your winter vegetables are progressing. If you choose the right plants, your garden will always have something that’s good to eat and ready to harvest.