How to Grow Produce in the Winter

Written by Jonathan Dick

Typically, you think of planting your garden in the spring and summer and harvesting in the fall. However, some people prefer to plant some produce late in the season and allow them to stay stagnant during the winter and harvest during the spring.

Growing plants in the winter time can allow you to have your own vegetables earlier in the spring. Check out how you can plant during the winter and which plants you should grow over the winter.

How to Over-Winter Your Plants
1. Consider where your plants will be located. You will want to plan where winter obstacles like snow drifts might be located when snow falls. Also, make sure that your plants will have as much sunlight as possible – that means avoid putting them next to walls.

Gardening in the Winter2. Loosen the soil in the area with a garden fork or shovel. You’ll want to dig at least 1 foot down into the ground and turn the soil. Also, consider adding some compost to the mix.

3. Plant your over-wintering seeds in mid- to late summer. You can also start more sensitive seedlings under lights if it’s too hot outside during that time. You’ll also need to make sure that the plant has enough time to grow a strong root system before the winter weather sets in.

4. Mulch your plants when you first place them in the summer and again in late autumn. Place a heavy layer of straw, leaves or compost around the plant to guard the soil during the winter. Remove the layer when the spring sun begins to warm. Mulch again after you remove the layer.

If you lose a few plants, don’t get discouraged. Many professional farms and planters will lose plants during the overwintering process.

Moving plants indoors
Depending on your environment, over-wintering plants outside might not work out. Instead you might need to move your plants indoors.

Really, these plants don’t need special treatment. Just make sure that they are warm and watered sufficiently. Bringing a plant indoors can be tricky because you’ll have to choose a place that has enough natural light for the plant to survive. You’ll also need to ensure that the temperature stays between 60-70 degrees and doesn’t dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit at night. With many tropical plants, air humidity might also be a factor.

What plants to grow during the winter
Onions. Onions are great for winter growth because they tend to take care of themselves. They also have a long growing season.

Garlic. Similar to onions, they have a long growing season and are easier to grow.

Perpetual Spinach is an excellent plant that you can cut and grow again. Early autumn sowings will keep you full with tender young leaves throughout winter and regular harvesting during the summer.

Broad beans. The great thing about broad beans is that when they are sown during the fall, they can be harvested in spring – up to a month earlier than spring sown plants.

Peas. The trick to growing peas during the winter is to find a strong variety like “Kelvedon Wonder” or “Meteor.”

Growing in a greenhouse during the winter
There are many items that thrive in cooler temperatures but might not do well in a frozen ground. Instead these plants would do well inside of a greenhouse or a garage.

Lettuce. Lettuce is one of the great plants that grows well in cooler temperatures.

Carrots. Some brands of carrots – like “Nantes Frubund” – are great for winter growth.

Cabbage. Cabbage is great for growers in the northern U.S. Usually, southern states don’t get cold enough to for them to grow a good-sized head.

Broccoli. Broccoli is another great vegetable to start growing at the end of the summer season.

Cauliflower. This is similar to broccoli in that it might not grow well in the south.

Updated November 23, 2012

2 Comments

  1. Ben from Texas wrote:

    The key to large cabbage in the fall in the south is two hand fulls of chicken manure…I’ve used the composted manure from the feed stores but the manure from my chicken coop works excellent also.I usually put my cabbage out when they are in stock at feed stores ,down South usually sept-oct.Dig a 10 inch deep round hole about 6 inches round.Put 2 heaping hand/fulls of chicken manure in the bottom.Cover with top soil.Put plant right in top soil..When the roots grow into the manure in 2 or 3 weeks the plants with thrive and grow well…Water when planted and water well 2 or 3 times a week..

    November 26th, 2012 at 7:04 am
  2. Lux wrote:

    I grow food all year round by sprouting. It’s like a little garden in a cup. Sproutable beans and seed are the best dehydrated food there is. When you rehydrate (sprout) you end up with live food. Here is my sprouter.

    http://beforeitsnews.com/self-sufficiency/2012/12/make-this-easy-bean-sprouter-it-works-great-2450674.html

    Can you imagine how much food there is packed into a cubic foot of sproutable beans or seeds?

    Lux

    December 30th, 2012 at 12:24 am

What Do You Think of That?