Once the winter arrives, then you might be ready for a break from your flower beds. While the rest of your garden is snoring? Then why not grow some delicious edibles this time. It’s more interesting than pruning roses, and the rewards are also great. With all of this, it doesn’t take much work or much space. It produces super sweet-tasting cool season edibles in a few late fall nights of 28-degree temperatures.
Here are some tips for successful fall-winter food gardening and a list of edibles that thrive in the fall-winter garden.
Kale is a crop which adds the color and texture to the garden and it an easy winter crop.
In wintertime, there are plenty of edibles that you can grow, which includes garlic, radishes, lettuce, leeks, onions, peas, potatoes, chard, spinach, rhubarb, and other leafy greens veggies such as bok choy (Chinese cabbage) and kale. You can also harvest them straight through winter, if you’ve already planted these yummy treats.
- Defer planting until early fall to help conserve water
- Remove all plant material from warm season crops and add 3 inches of compost.
- Rotate planted areas (move this season’s fall/winter garden if you planted one last year).
- Select edibles that germinate in soil temperatures between 40 and 60 degrees and mature quickly, such as those listed below.
- Plant fall/winter crops close together to minimize soil erosion.
- Add mulch — you can use leaves falling from your trees (just shred them first by running your lawn mower over them).
Veggie like garlic requires very little room or attention. So, first of all, set out a nursery purchased bulbs (separated but unpeeled) four inches apart. Then don’t water them in. It’s best to wait till shoots poke up before watering for the first time. And it’s much better, that let the rain water them for you.
Leeks can be harvested throughout the year, and they are unfazed by our mild winters. It’s very beneficial because nursery starts are inexpensive and plentiful.
This edible can also thrive in winter, and the onion plant love the rich soil. Not too sandy or clayey. This is where your well-amended soil is important. Onion also like regular water, you can find both bulb and seed of onion to start, but it’s easier to buy bulbs which is also called “sets” from a nursery or online source. Never try to plant grocery store onions because it’s unlikely to work. So now, when to plant onion, the best time to plant onion sets is January and February. (Pull up the plants when they are about six weeks old, it’s for green onions, or scallions).
Radishes can grow easily and quickly, and search online to discover a long list of gorgeous radish seeds including French Breakfast, White Icicle and Pink Beauties. Don’t look at the grocery store for those starchy red rocks called radishes. Easter Eggs is a variety of radish that produces radishes of varying purples, pinks and whites. Some varieties which are small-rooted can be ready in a month or less from the day of seeding.
Lettuce likes and favor fertile soil and regular water similar like onions. Some are more suitable for warmer months, some for cooler. However, there many varieties of lettuce, including redleaf and heirloom. Mesclun is a mixture of several lettuces such as chicory, arugula, chervil, and cress. That can be grows beautifully in our climate. Seeds can be sown in January or February and look for local nursery to starts.
The Best months to plant peas are November and February. Poke shelling or snap pea seeds an inch or two deep directly into rich soil and give them something tall to climb up and wind their tendrils around. The bird eats shoots of peas because its delicacies for them. To protect from birds, you may need to cover your sprouts with a floating row cover or anything that keeps birds at bay but that lets sunshine and rain in.
When to plant Potatoes? So, the good time to plant potatoes is in February, similar to peas, with the satisfying potato harvest around three months later. Adults and kids alike are a joy to harvest the potatoes. Potatoes are usually grown from pieces of tubers that have at least one eye or from a whole small tuber, but it’s also depending on the variety.
- Swiss chard and other greens
Swiss chard is similar an exclamation mark in the winter garden, lighting up beds with bright pink, yellow and red stalks. It’s one of the simple and easy greens to grow either from seed or from starts, and it grows all year. Other greens, like spinach, kale and bok choy, are also easy and simple to grow. These greens can be used for salads or can be braised in stir-fries or thrown into soups. Most greens relish cool temperatures and go to seed in warm weather. Keep them cool, give them rich soil, and you’ll be rewarded with fresh salad greens throughout the year.