How to Grow Great Tasting Vegetables in the Winter
Do you ever just find yourself dissatisfied with the taste of your vegetables when they come out of a can or they have obviously been shipped to the grocery store from far away?
Sometimes you don’t even feel like eating vegetables during the Winter and early Spring months due to the lack of flavor and you long for that fresh taste that tantalizing your taste buds.. The problem is it can be hard to get good fresh vegetables during those months of the year.
Well, you may not realize it but there is a solution to this predicament and it comes in the form of growing your own winter vegetables.
According to Dr. Merocla a Winter organic garden can seriously slash your food bill. which is also a another great reason to seriously consider starting a Winter garden. You can have a Winter garden with great success and I am more than happy to share some of my tips with you. Here are some of the most important tips and tricks on how to grow vegetables in the winter.
Choosing the Vegetables You Will Grow
Sure you would like to have some nice fresh corn in the winter and maybe some hearty tomatoes but that is just not going to happen because these vegetables are way too sensitive to even the least amount of cold.
So what choices does that leave you? There is still a nice selection of vegetables that can handle the colder weather nicely.
- Wild Arugula or Arugula rocket
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard greens
- Mustard greens
- Onions (non-bulbous)
- Most beans
Do You Grow Indoors or Outside?
Most people are under the impression that an indoor garden is the only way you can grow vegetables in the colder months. This is entirely not true. It’s less expensive and you can have a bigger garden with more vegetables choices with a Winter garden outside and I sure wouldn’t want to haul soils and other smelly products into my house.
Make a Raised Bed
In case you were wondering what the biggest problem is when growing winter vegetables it’s keeping the soil warm so the soil does not freeze and it stays loose so it can accept water and fertilizers.
The best way to go about doing that is by raising your garden up about 6-inches over the normal height of your garden area.
This can be easily done by:
- Making a border out of stacked landscaping blocks or pressure treated wood logs nailed together.
- As you are adding dirt, make sure you add a decent amount of good growing topsoil into the mix too.
- It is also never a bad idea to locate this raised garden bed near the backside of your home or near hedges that will naturally block some of the wind and sometimes harsh winter elements.
*** Note: If you have a large enough winter garden that you use every year then try to rotate where you plant the same crops every year. That will help your winter garden soil keep its vital nutrients better. ***
Build an Inexpensive Enclosure
You will definitely need to enclose your garden to help keep your growing vegetables safe from the harsh winter environment. Keep in mind the bigger your winter garden is the harder this will be to do.
To make a simple enclosure try using and following this method:
- Wood or some type of tubing you can attach clear plastic sheeting too. You can make a frame using 1-inch PVC pipe glued together.
- Make sure any enclosure you build has vertical pipes or wood that you can put at least 1-foot into the ground for stability.
- Make sure have vertical supports every 4-foot too.
- You will need a large roll of plastic sheeting to attach to the frame so you can fully enclose your winter garden.
- Try to find plastic sheeting that is as clear as possible and at least 6mm thick.
- Once my framing was built I used self-tapping screws with rubber washers to hold the plastic sheeting to the frame.
Start the Seedlings Inside and Transplant
You can start the growing process by planting seeds in the ground outdoors but I have found that starting the seeds in pots inside and transferring them to your outside garden will give you a healthier and fruitful garden. This also gives the plants a much better chance to survive the Winter growing process.
Keep the Roots Warm and the Weeds Away
One of the best ways to keep your soil warm and moist during the colder months is by adding some composted soil or a layer of natural mulch. Both of these have natural reactions that occur in them that help them build up heat and they will also act as a blanket to keep in warmth. Don’t add mulch before it starts getting cold because it will attract too many insects.
In addition to mulch, I always like to spray a little homemade organic weed killer around too. This is safe for your body when you consume your vegetables yet it will still kill weeds naturally.
Don’t Assume There Are No Critters or Insects That Will Eat Your Plants in the Winter
Many people assume that because it’s winter that there will be no animal pests or insects that will ruin the vegetables you have just planted. Assuming this could be a huge mistake that leads to a lot of frustration after all the hard work you put in building and planting your winter garden.
Not only will your plants like the nice warm garden enclosure you just built but so will insects and nuisance animal. Take the same steps to protect your winter garden as you do with your summer garden. That means you set up things such as deer fences and use natural organic fertilizers to keep away insects.
Start Enjoying Your Fresh Vegetables Year Round
Keep in mind that practice makes perfect. The first few years you have a winter garden your results may be hit or miss. Practice make perfect and if you follow the tips and tricks in this article you will definitely avoid making some of the same mistakes that many people make when they first started a winter vegetable garden. So get to work making your new winter garden so you can soon be enjoying those fresh tasty vegetables you love all year round.
Have you ever tried to grow a Winter garden?
If so please share your experiences with us or ideas and suggestions in the comment section!