Gardening is an amazing hobby. It makes people go outside and interact with nature to create healthy, and delicious food. There’s something about a home-grown vegetable that makes it superior to store-bought. However, all of the benefits seem to end when autumn rolls in, but that doesn’t have to be so! You can garden in the cold weather; all you need is the proper winter vegetables and the know-how.
Winter Vegetables You Can Grow During Cold Weather
Not all winter vegetables and herbs grow alike. Some will give produce through the season; some will come out of dormancy in the spring. While a few can grow in containers, most need proper shielding and space from harsh weather.
One method of protection is the cover tunnel, also known as the hoop house. They are rectangular, easily extendable, and can be made easily at home. Plastic bottles with the bottoms removed can shelter seedlings and small plants. Be sure to use clear bottles without their labels attached and ensure they are secure.
If you’d prefer something a little more visually-pleasing, use cloches, a bell-shaped structure that shields plants from gales, a vital part of growing broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale. Cloches can be found in any shape to suit your garden, and ensure they are properly secured with the sides buried into the ground weights or with weights.
Related Post: 10 Things Gardeners Should Do In January
Sow arugula seeds during autumn, keeping a one-inch space between each one. This leafy green can tolerate frost and moderately freezing temperatures but needs shielding from any worse weather. You can use an unheated greenhouse or a tunnel cover. Harvest the leaves as needed once they grow to about two inches.
Start by planting the seeds indoors during the mid- to late-summer, keeping the rows two and a half feet apart with about two feet of distance between each plant. Then cover them with mesh to prevent cabbage butterflies. To harvest, take the first head of broccoli before it splits, cutting an angle with a sharp knife. Leave some leaves and a stem about four to six inches.
Read More: The Best Companion Plants For Broccoli
Sow the seeds late in the summer, with a three-inch space between them and eight to 12 inches between each row. Beets require rich soil with low levels of nitrogen and high levels of phosphorus. Once the roots take form, the top of the beet will appear on the earth. That’s the sign that it’s ready to be harvested. If you’d like larger beets, cover their “shoulders” with mulch to avoid the beet from growing tough.
Read More: How To Build A Straw Bale Garden
If you want to harvest in the late fall, plant the seeds in July, three inches apart with five inches distance between rows. Use deep, fertile soil and full to partial sun exposure. While the seeds sprout, provide with steady watering, and lower that to average watering when the roots have grown. Cover any exposed carrot “shoulders” to prevent them from turning green, and harvest them after about two months.
Read More: How To Grow Perfect Carrots Every Time
If you live in a location with cool summers, plant the seeds indoors at the beginning of the spring and set them outside in June or July with 30 inches between every one and three feet between the rows. Remove leaves at the sprouts mature, and harvest the sprouts starting from the bottom when they are about one inch long and green in color. After the last harvest, you could remove the entire plant from the ground and keep in a root cellar or leave it in the soil; it might continue producing despite the snow.
One of my favorite winter vegetables! Plant the individual cloves from a bulb that were opened within the past two days, and set them about two to four inches deep with the pointed end facing up. Set them about five inches apart while the rows are 12–15 inches apart.
Ensure the garlic is in an area with full sun exposure and fertile and well-drained earth. The bulbs can be harvested in the summer after a third of the leaves withered. Don’t tug on the stalk, loosen the soil and pry the entire plant out. To cure the cloves, hang the plants together in a dark, airy place for two weeks. Then trim the tops and store the bulbs in paper bags.
Read More: How To Grow Garlic
Sow the kale seeds during the middle of the summer; alternatively, sow them indoors and plant them outside at the beginning of fall, at least 18 inches apart and two feet between rows. Ensure the area is sunny with fertile soil that’s well-drained. When the leaves turn a rich green with a firm texture, they are ready to be harvested. Harvesting often will promote more growth, but keep clear of the bud at the tip.
Leeks are an awesome winter vegetable in part because they can keep growing back after harvest. Sow the seeds inside during the early spring and plant them outside during the middle of the summer. Using a dibber, create holes at least three inches deep; this will help encourage the leeks to grow a longer stem. Set the plants five inches apart, with 11 inches of space between rows. Ensure the soil is rich and there is enough sunlight. Harvest the leeks as needed, starting with the largest ones.
Plant the seeds in the fall a few inches apart, then five inches apart as they spread, with four inches between the rows. Keep the soil well-drained and slightly acidic. Keep the plants protected with a fleece-covered tunnel, and harvest whenever needed.
Sow the seeds from the middle of summer to the middle of fall in sandy soil with full sun exposure to partial shade. The seeds should be placed about half an inch apart, and three inches between the rows. This lettuce requires consistent moisture. During the winter months, use a fleece-covered tunnel to protect the plants. Harvest as needed; the lettuce should grow through the cold and into the spring.
Soak the seeds overnight in warm water before planting; this will promote germination. In the early spring, sow the seeds in a sunny area with well-drained soil. Space the plants three inches apart, and keep nine inches between the rows. When flower stalks appear, prune them. Keep the soil damp. The herb should be ready to harvest after about 10–13 weeks. Keep the plants mulched and covered with a low tunnel through the harsh weather.
Last but not least on our winter vegetables list: spinach! Start the seeds indoors during the late summer months and take them outside in late fall. Space the seedlings 2–3 inches apart with one foot between each row. Keep the soil rich with compost, well-drained, and well-watered. Thin and weed the plant to ensure good air circulation. During the winter, ensure the plants are mulched and protected with a low tunnel. Harvest the spinach leaves when they are fully grown by snipping the plant from the base.