Spring and summer are great for your garden, but you can still get fresh-grown herbs and produce from your garden in the cooler months with a little planning. Choosing the right crops for your fall and winter garden is a matter of knowing about your climate and growing conditions. We can’t completely predict the weather, of course, but it makes a big difference in your success as a winter gardener.
What’s more wholesome than a meal of soup and salad? Winter salad greens include such options as various lettuces, arugula, and spinach. Round out these greens with some radishes and carrots, both of which can survive the cold quite well. Leeks and onions do well in the winter, too. They add much-needed flavor and nutrition to soups and stews, as well as many other dishes.
Certain cruciferous vegetables or cole crops, including kale, cabbages, Brussels sprouts, and kohlrabi all can add some green to your diet in the off-season. These plants grow well in colder temperatures and are cold hardy. These vegetables often taste better after being exposed to frost! Plant these vegetables at the end of summer or in fall so that they get the optimal temperatures for germination. They’ll have the chance to grow and establish before the day shortens.
Certain perennial vegetables, like asparagus, must survive the cold to come up year after year. It takes a few years of patience to establish asparagus, but the wait is well worth it. It’s a sign of the coming spring and a welcome burst of flavor after the winter months.
One last thought: vegetables you grow over the summer can serve you through the winter as long as you have a storage plan. Of course, you have options such as canning and other forms of long-term storage. But don’t forget butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squashes. Pumpkins, especially the varieties grown for cooking, last for months if stored properly, too.
With a little planning, a home garden can keep a family supplied with fresh vegetables all year long.