Can you really garden in the winter?
You can save hundreds of dollars by planting your own garden. Gardening doesn’t have to stop in the fall or winter months. There are gardeners in Maine who are now gardening year round. Of course they need more equipment than people in the south. With a few seeds, or transplants, (small plants already started), some fertilizer and elbow grease, you can enjoy fresh vegetables and herbs year round.
It’s very rewarding to harvest your own produce. For me it’s a sense of accomplishment. The “Look what I grew“ feeling. You also know where it came from and if pesticides were used or not. Not to mention your own picked produce has more nutrients, because it is fresh. Nutrients are lost during shipping and storage. Many times I have wanted a tomato or pepper for a dish I’m making and just walk out the door, pick it, and use it. You can’t get any fresher than that.
There are several things you can use today, to extend the planting season. Depending on the size of your garden, the climate you live in and how much you want to extend your growing season. There are cloches, cold frames, tunnels, hoop houses, green houses. You will want to protect your plants from the cold, wind, snow, sleet, hail and frost.
Cloches- individual plant protectors. Like a cut plastic bottle or milk jug.
Cold Frames- like a small greenhouse with a transparent roof to let sunlight in.
Tunnels- a long plastic covered tunnel, for covering rows of plants.
Hoop Houses- built with semi-circular hoops and polyethylene, doesn’t require a foundation, inexpensive and easily built.
Green House- framed like a house with clear glass or plastic roof and walls.
In warmer parts of the country, there are several plants that grow just as well in the cooler fall weather as in the spring. Broccoli is one plant that loves the cool weather. Other hardy vegetables that do well in the cooler months and tolerate some frosts are:
Greens are best to put in a cold frame, especially lettuce because it won’t survive a frost.
A list of Herbs that do well in the cool months are:
In the winter months, we cook inside more. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some fresh winter vegetables to put into your stew, pot roast or even just roast them as a side dish. Winter vegetables mix well with other root vegetables like potatoes. They keep well so if you don’t get to cook them right away, you don’t have to worry.
Roasted Winter Vegetables
These are easy to make and you really don’t have to measure anything. Just make as much or as little as you’d like. You can switch the vegetables that you use, to give it a variety. If you use beets, you may want to par boil them first. Wash, peel and cut your vegetables into pieces all about the same size so they will be done at the same time. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Variety of vegetables
Red skinned potatoes or sweet potatoes
You can either mix the seasonings in bowl and mix in the vegetable to coat and then spread in a single layer on a baking dish or spread vegetables in a single layer on a baking dish and drizzle the seasonings and olive oil over the vegetables. Roast the vegetables until they are lightly browned and tender when pierced with a fork, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.