If you are a gardener, your summer garden is probably in full swing. You may be harvesting tomatoes, basil, onions, zucchinis, and even corn, but did you know it is time to plant your winter garden? Winter gardening is my favorite, as I love cool weather crops and always feel like I am defying nature to pick carrots in December, but you have to get started now.
Winter vegetables taste sweeter than their summer counterparts, as sugar levels rise as temperatures fall. The Westside Gardener explains:
As is the case with summer vegetables, fresh from-the-garden produce simply tastes better than its supermarket counterpart. Because it is harvested closer to the time it is consumed, it is higher in vitamins (this is probably even more true in winter than in summer, since so much of the commercially available winter produce is grown in the southern hemisphere). The eating quality is often remarkably higher: For instance, many vegetables store more sugars when they are exposed to cold temperatures. Also, a lot of winter vegetables are poor shippers; so if you want quality leeks or kale you have no choice but to grow them yourself.
What can you plant for your winter garden at the end of July/early August? The following planting information comes from Territorial Seed Company, which is based in the Pacific Northwest:
- Broccoli (transplant)
- Brussel sprouts (transplant)
- Cabbage (transplant)
- Cauliflower (transplant)
- Chinese cabbage (transplant)
- Corn salad
- Mustard greens
- Onion seed
When winter gardening, there are two purposes for planting. Some of the crops are grown for fall and winter harvesting, whereas others are planted to overwinter for an early spring harvest. In addition, many winter gardeners use covering or cloching to extend their seasons.
The end of summer and fall are the perfect times to get beds ready for next spring by planting cover crops. Cover crops are green manures which improve your soil and help fight weeds.
Get busy gardeners: Winter is approaching!