Planting a Winter Garden

Swiss chard plants in the garden.

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.

Happy growing…

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2 thoughts on “Planting a Winter Garden

  1. I have homemade VHS tapes of Gardening Naturally, a PBS show that Barbara Damrosch and Elliott Coleman did about 10 years ago. Wish I could find DVDs of them! I have a tray of kale seeds started and hope to plant them outside soon. First time I’m trying some winter gardening. Hope it works! 🙂 You’re doing an awesome job!

  2. I have to thank you yet again. Well timed info for me (zone 7a). I’ve checked Coleman’s book out, and WOW is it a wealth of info. Nice to have your shorter, here’s what to do right now, version while I digest this amazing book. 🙂

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