How To Gardening During The Cold Seasons
Homeschooling for us includes many things beyond books, one of my favorite being gardening. Mild autumn days and cold nights do not signal the end of the growing season for us. I am hoping to gather additional produce from throughout the winter and even some cold-hardy produce in the vegetable plot before winter officially arrives.
Vegetables That Are Cold Hardy
Depending on where you live, many vegetables still have time to mature and produce food for your table even though the calendar is racing toward October. Hardy greens are an ideal choice for late summer planting that will continue to grow and produce crops in the cool days of fall and winter. Escarole and spinach are excellent crops to extend your garden’s production. The plants can survive a light frost and keep going.
Other favorite vegetables that can keep you eating fresh-from-the-garden produce include Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, and arugula. Whether you prepare these for your own table or sell them at a roadside stand or farmers’ market, your garden will continue to yield fresh produce for you and your family to enjoy.
Cool temperatures actually enhance the flavor of some vegetables. Brussel sprouts and broccoli produce less bitter-tasting vegetables if they mature during cooler months.
Root crops are also excellent options to keep your garden growing long after summer fades into fall. Turnips planted late in July or early August will have plenty of time for their fruit to grow and mature in the ground in all but the most northern tier of U.S. states.
What is more rewarding than stepping into your garden on a blustery October day and plucking a perfectly round purple topped turnip from the ground. Another advantage of planting turnips is the ability to plant them after you have already harvested one crop from your garden Turnips can be sown in your garden after an early crop like green peas has been picked and the vines pulled out of the ground.
Instead of letting a section of your garden lie fallow after harvesting early crops, plant hardy root crops in the empty space. Choose you’re favorite such as carrots, parsnips, beets, onions, garlic or turnips.
Precautionary Measures For The Frost
A few extra precautions will protect your late-season produce from the harmful effects of heavy frost and freezing temperatures and keep your garden growing. Add a layer of insulating material atop your root vegetables to keep heat from escaping from the soil. Straw, grass clippings, or shredded newspapers work well for this. Besides extending your growing season, the mulching material has another use.
Whether you use straw, grass clippings or yesterday’s newspaper to protect your tender plants, till it into the ground in the spring. This will enrich and loosen the soil and provide a good base for next season’s plantings. The breakdown will help fertilize the soil. I also till in any compost at this time as well.
Use A Greenhouse
There are plenty of tutorials on how to build a DIY greenhouse online. There are also lots of great options on Amazon including plenty of space-saving options like this one. You can also take advantage of indoor areas like windowsills to grow herbs. Either way, there are plenty of affordable ways to keep gardening all year round.
With a little extra care and some careful planning, your garden will continue to yield fresh food for your table.