Tuesday, December 12, 2017

9 Crops for Winter Gardening

Winter Gardening

In June the Powell River Garden Club invited Cathy from Mother Nature to give a presentation on fall and winter gardening. It was very timely, because it was the last club meeting of the season and preparation for cold weather gardening needs to begin during summer.

Winter harvest of kale, beets and carrots.

I learned that it's not necessary to let your soil rest during winter as long as you replenish it in spring with compost and other essential nutrients. I really like going to Garden Club. I learn new things to make my small garden more productive.

Two weeks ago I shared how I'm using covers for containers on my cabin deck to increase the season for greens. Click here to read that post.

Here are some additional winter crops I'm growing in my raised bed floating garden.

Beets and carrots remaining in the ground.
1. Beets left in the ground. Beets planted spring through mid-summer develop before the cold arrives and will maintain their size. Even with some freezing temperatures, my beets remain in good condition through February. I grow Detroit Red Beets from seed.

2. Carrots left in the ground. As with my beets, I plant one crop in spring and one more in mid-summer. Mounded with soil to cover the I plant carrots in  I grow Scarlet Nantes carrots from seed because they are short and

Dwarf Green Curly Kale.
3. Kale left growing. My favourite is Dwarf Green Curled Kale. It's compact and grows well in a raised bed. Spring plants last all winter. It tastes even better after the frost arrives. Stems benefit from staking during winter storms. 

4. Chard left growing. Like kale, chard planted in spring continues to grow through winter. It's quite tolerant of mild freezing conditions.  I like Rhubarb Chard with it's bright red stems and large green leaves.

Broccoli, chard and perennial rosemary.
5. Broccoli left growing. Last spring I bought Broccoli sets and the plants have been giving me florets ever since. They're slowing down now, but will have another spring burst before going to seed.

6. Purple Sprouting Broccoli planted mid-summer. A Garden Club member brought seeds to a meeting. I started the them in mid-summer. This variety is taller so I have staked them to withstand winter storms. They will produce in late winter and early spring.

Brussels sprouts starting to form.
7. Brussels Sprouts. This is my second year growing Brussels Sprouts. They will produce sprouts from December to February. The variety is compact but benefits from staking.

8. Perennial Herbs. I grow herbs in deck pots and in my floating garden. I cut my mint back and wait for it to come back in spring. You can't keep a good mint down. My thyme, sage and rosemary continue to provide fresh herbs throughout the winter months without covering.

9. Planting Garlic. Fall is a good time to plant garlic. This is my first year trying it. I created space by picking kale and carrots at the end of one of my beds. The garlic cloves will remain in the soil for sprouting in early spring. When it comes time for new garden planning and planting I'll know this area is taken.

The winter float garden.

It's important to get your seeds or seedlings planted early enough to allow them to grow and mature before the first frost arrives in your area. After that, plant growth will slow down. In my area, early August is about the last opportunity to get things going. Another tip is to pick cold tolerant varieties.

Do you have a winter garden? What kinds of things do you grow? -- Margy

22 comments:

  1. We do have a winter garden now that we've moved to the Greek Peloponnese from our near-Seattle home. I've just planted cabbage, Brussel sprouts, lettuce and strawberries. Our temperatures drop and plant growth slows this time of year, but it is fun to go harvest salad lettuce fresh from the garden in December. I too have planted garlic cloves for the first time - they've sprouted but I have no idea when to harvest!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You made a big change in your life and chose a new country for your home much father from your roots than we did. Living in BC isn't all that different weatherwise but the attitudes and sense of purpose is very different. - Margy

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  2. So...good job well done, bon apetit ;-0

    Have a ♥-warming ABC-Wednes-day / -week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (ABC-W-team)
    http://melodymusic.nl/21-w

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    1. Thank you for stopping by this week and thank you for managing ABC Wednesday. - Margy

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  3. How deep is the soil in the container you grow your carrots in? I tried growing in a container once before and it did not work out well with carrots

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    1. The raised bed in my float garden is 6-8 inches deep. I grow Scarlet Nantes carrots. They are hardy and a short stout variety of carrot. They've always done well in the larger bed. I've never tried them in a small container, but we did have a guest speaker at a Garden Club meeting that showed a very small container full of medium sized carrots. Not sure what kind they were. - Margy

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  4. Every spring I think I should've tried planting garlic. I'm writing it on my to-do list for tomorrow. This morning I harvested four cherry tomatoes. Our weather in CA has been warm so with luck, all the green tomatoes will turn red. Happy Gardening!

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    1. This is the first time I'm trying planting my garlic in the fall. My spring planted garlic has always turned out small compared to the ones my friends grow. - Margy

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  5. Replies
    1. Something from the garden always hits the spot. - Margy

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  6. I do love winter (root) vegies!

    Leslie

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    1. Each year I've planted a few extra things. Now my whole garden is full. - Margy

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  7. I look outside and figure you must be talking about winter in coastal B.C.!

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    1. We do have it a little easier out here. - Margy

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  8. Garden club is the best club I've belonged to, gardening or otherwise. Lovely to see all your winter veg.

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    1. I agree. I can't get to all the meetings but each one I do increases my learning level. And all the people are so friendly. - Margy

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  9. This post warms my heart since it resonates with my most recent post about the importance of keeping soil busy growing things! Such good detail and tips!

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    1. I had always heard you need to let your soil rest until I went to the Garden Club last June. They said that was a myth and winter crops were good. I love learning about gardening and our local Garden Club is a great place for that. - Margy

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  10. I've mentioned before how impressed I am. Maybe I'll take this up!

    ROG, ABCW

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a message. I always appreciate it. - Margy

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  11. Informative post and photos ~

    Happy Week to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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