By Jennifer Poindexter
Each year as fall comes to a close and winter is right around the corner, do you know what I do? I plant a garden!
You might be thinking I’m crazy, but I have a quick tip for you. Don’t stop gardening because the temperatures drop.
Instead, find ways to move your gardening indoors or into a cold frame. Here are a few ideas I either utilize now or have in the past to enjoy fresh crops most of the year:
Quick Tip: Don’t Stop Gardening Because It’s Cold
There are a few ways you can garden even when the temperatures become cold. Here are my tips for continuing to produce fresh vegetables through fall and winter:
1. Grow Crops in a Greenhouse
The first time I ever had a greenhouse, my husband and I built it in January when it was snowing. We’re rather spontaneous at times.
My body was craving fresh greens, and I was sick of paying the price for them at the grocery store. This was when I built an inexpensive greenhouse. It wasn’t the prettiest, but it allowed me to produce fresh spinach within a month or two of building it.
I still grow crops in a greenhouse to this day. I wait until after Thanksgiving to add lettuce, spinach, and radish seeds to the beds in my greenhouse to ensure we’re past the hotter days we sometimes experience in the fall.
Then I provide adequate care and harvest within two months after planting. From there, I plant another round of cold weather crops and continue the cycle until late spring.
If you have room for a greenhouse on your property, consider adding one to grow crops after cold weather sets in.
2. Grow Crops Indoors
Another option for growing crops in fall and winter is to move your plants indoors. This takes a little more room as you must have the space for your plants and grow lights.
When moving plants indoors, they typically do better when grown beneath grow lights as this ensures they receive the right amount of light even when the days are shorter.
The options are limitless when growing crops indoors as long as you have adequate space and an appropriate set-up for your plants to thrive.
3. Plant Cold Weather Crops Outdoors In the Ground
If you live in a planting zone with milder winters, you may be able to grow plants in the ground all year long.
A few options are carrots, radishes, spinach, and kale. Spinach and kale are hardier greens that prefer colder temperatures.
If you’re experiencing a hard frost, it might be wise to provide cover to these plants to protect their foliage.
Carrots and radishes are root vegetables which do well in cooler weather as they thrive in these temperatures. Cold temperatures are said to help sweeten the flavor of carrots.
If you live in a location where it gets cold but the ground isn’t deeply frozen or covered in snow, then growing cold-weather crops in a traditional garden plot isn’t out of the realm of possibilities for you.
It must be noted that it’s vital to provide adequate care and growing conditions for your plants to thrive, especially in a winter garden.
4. Plant Cold Weather Crops in a Cold Frame
If you don’t have room for a greenhouse, consider adding cold frames to your yard or garden. You can purchase cold frames or make your own.
Some people add lids to their existing raised beds. This allows light to reach the plants but also protects the crops from frost. This method also provides a little extra heat.
You can use old windows or even create a PVC pipe frame that’s covered in plastic to create lids for your existing garden beds.
As long as there’s a layer to insulate and stop frost or snow from reaching the plants, it should work as a cold frame.
Keep in mind, you’ll need to grow cold-weather crops in a cold frame as it won’t get warm enough to support all plants.
You now have a few ideas on how to continue gardening into winter. Don’t let cold weather stop you from enjoying fresh vegetables during the colder months.
Instead, adjust what you grow and where you grow. Then continue enjoying gardening and the fruits of your labor throughout winter.
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