Food and Cuisine It's time to plant a winter garden!

Published on July 29th, 2009 | by Jennifer Lance

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It's Winter Gardening Time

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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.

Photo by jennifer lanceIt's time to plant a winter garden!

It's time to plant a winter garden!

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:

  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Broccoli (transplant)
  • Brussel sprouts (transplant)
  • Cabbage (transplant)
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower (transplant)
  • Chinese cabbage (transplant)
  • Collards
  • Corn salad
  • Endive
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard greens
  • Onion seed
  • Parsnips
  • Rutabagas
  • Scallions
  • Turnips

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!





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About the Author

Jennifer lives on 160 acres off-the-grid in a home built with her own two hands (and several more skilled pairs of hands) from forest fire salvaged timber. Her home is powered by a micro-hydro turbine, and she has been a vegetarian for 21 years. Jennifer graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in art education and has been teaching art to children for over 16 years. She also spent five years teaching in a one-room schoolhouse before becoming the mother of two beautiful children. Jennifer has a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education and is currently teaching preschool, as well as k-8 art. She enjoys writing, gardening, hiking, practicing yoga, and raising four akitas. Jennifer is the founder and editor of Eco Child's Play (http://ecochildsplay.com) "I’ve always been concerned about the earth and our impact upon it. Now that I have children, I feel compelled to raise them with green values. From organic gardening to alternative energy, my family tries to leave a small carbon footprint." Please visit my other blog: http://reallynatural.com



9 Responses to It's Winter Gardening Time

  1. Wow,nice post!I was amazed
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  2. Sikantis says:

    Thank you for this useful list. You’re right, it’s really time to think about winter gardening.

  3. Sikantis says:

    I’m not sure if my comment was accepted. I’m really thankful for this list for winter gardening.

  4. Garden Tools says:

    Thanks for the tips on Winter Gardens provided. I planted carrots and parsnips last year and they came out perfectly!

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