Many cold climate gardeners know they can extend their veggie growing season into the autumn months, but did you know you can also keep many crops going all winter long?
As mentioned in Fall Vegetable Gardening 101, the basics for successful veggie growing are the same at any time of year and growing throughout the winter months requires just a few adaptations.
I'll walk you through the basics and show you how I manage my winter veggie garden here in Canada.
A healthy garden thrives with good soil, appropriate sun exposure, and water.
A winter veggie garden is no exception.
Enrich your soil year-round and ensure your winter veggie beds are positioned to receive optimum sun.
An insulated cold frame (with a lid) will protect your cold-loving veggies through the winter months.
It's ideal to place the cold frame in a location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sun per day. More is better.
You could also place straw bales around the cold frame to further insulate it.
See more cold frames here: Cold Weather Veggie Garden Resources.
Have your snow boots ready!
The good news is, when the weather is really severe, there's not much to do.
The cold frames are kept closed, protecting the veggies from dampness and wind.
On warmer days, when it’s dry and the temperatures are above freezing (0C /32F), I open the cold frame lids to let more sun and fresh air in.
Generally, by late afternoon, the sun is fading, things cool off, and it’s often time to close the lids again.
Occasionally, during winter warm spells, I water the crops (lightly) to be sure they won't dry out.
Remember, everything grows slower in the cold so don't expect growth spurts.
The cold frame keeps the plants from freezing and protects them until things warm up and growth can resume.
I grow a variety of salad greens and there's plenty of veggies can be harvested throughout the season.
Simply clip off enough greens for your dinner salads and, gradually over time, the leaves will regrow to provide more.
Winter vegetable gardening is an added task (and it helps if you enjoy being outside in the cold weather), but the ability to have fresh, homegrown veggies available when the supermarkets are limited to expensive, imported crops, is very nice indeed.
Original article and pictures take http://www.ebay.com/gds/6-Tips-For-Growing-Winter-Veggies-/10000000178910483/g.html?roken2=ti.pTWVsaXNzYSBXaWxs site