Fresh Food in the winter: What Can I Plant?
Cold weather generally brings a stop to gardening, especially where the winter weather is more severe. There are many fresh herbs, spices and vegetables you can plant and maintain during the winter months.
- Garlic: Garlic takes up very little room and is very low maintenance. Plant bulbs 4 inches apart when plants and wait until they sprout before watering for the first time. • Leeks: If winter is mild where you live, leeks are an inexpensive plant that can be harvested year round.
- Onions: Rich soil and onions go hand in hand. Onions thrive in rich nutrient soils and like to be watered regularly.
- Lettuce: Lettuce grows in similar conditions to onions, however not all lettuce is suitable for cool temperatures.
- Peas: Peas are best when planted in November or February. Peas love sunshine and rain, however protect these from birds, as these are treats for them.
- Swiss Chard: Swiss chard not only is colorful, but also is a great plant to have year round, similar to kale and spinach.
- Asparagus: Asparagus is a great vegetable to plant if you can wait two years until your first harvest. Asparagus beds take awhile to establish, however each crown can produce 25 spears that can be harvested for 25 years.
- Rhubarb: Winter is the perfect time to prepare a rhubarb garden, similar to an asparagus bed.
- Mushrooms: Grab a mushroom kit from your local garden center or specialist to grow your own mushrooms this winter.
Some winter plants can survive the winter months, but need more protection. • Carrots: Carrots can be sown as early as November if planting in a greenhouse. This ensures an early harvest of carrots for the coming year.
- Pak Choi: Although usually planted as a summer crop, Pak Choi can thrive in greenhouse conditions even during the winter. Pak Choi can be harvested as single leaves or as full stems.
Growing vegetables in the winter allows you to extend your gardening to season to year round while providing fresh food for you and your family. Next year, planning ahead can give you kale, brussel sprouts and winter cabbages as these winter foods require planting prior to the cold weather.