Even though it is still summer, its time to start thinking about the winter garden. Gardening in the winter is a little different from gardening in other seasons. The winter garden is more about harvesting then growing. For a winter garden you need to have all of your crops close to full size by the time the days start getting shorter and the weather starts getting colder.
There is a wide selection of vegetables and herbs that grow well in cool weather with minimal protection. Here is the list of what we will be growing for our winter garden, and our approximate planting date ranges (we live in zone 6b):
– Carrots: 8/1-8/31
– Beets: 8/25-9/1
– Green Onions: 8/1
– Kale: 8/25-9/15
– Arugula: 8/25-10/1
– Cilantro: 8/25-10/1
– Dill: 8/25-9/15
– Lettuce: 8/20-9/25
– Spinach: 8/25-9/25
– Swiss Chard: 8/20-9/1
There are a lot of other vegetable you can grow that are not listed above.
The time is now to start getting a few last-minute vegetables in the ground for a winter garden.
After you plant your seeds it’s a good idea to keep the new rows moist, watering them once or twice a day depending on the rain fall. You may need to water a little more than you would during a spring planting, since there is usually less rain fall in the late summer and fall. Once the seedlings merge you can cut back on the daily watering, unless you have a long period without rain.
If you are interested in learning more about winter gardening I recommend reading these two great books by Eliot Coleman:
– The Winter Harvest Handbook
– Four-Season Harvest
The next posting will focus on building a low tunnel to protect the vegetables from the cold weather. I will walk you through step by step on how to build a simple low tunnel for your backyard garden.