With Halloween right around the corner and all of the major winter holidays quickly approaching, most of us are thinking about Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes and warm nights by the fire rather than vegetable gardens and sowing seeds. However, there are some wonderful benefits to growing your own organic vegetable. Even with the mower stowed away for winter and the flower beds tucked under their winter beds, you can still cultivate beautiful home-grown produce during these cold months.
Be sure to sow early in the season before the true cold comes. This will ensure that your veggies get a good start in the ground before the real wintertime comes. Use your winter vegetable garden as a way to get out in the crisp cool air, get some sunshine and outdoor exercise during the cold months, and harvest delicious veggies for your holiday meals. Plant these five vegetables in your winter vegetable garden and enjoy home-grown veggies all year round.
There are several different varieties of asparagus that can be successfully grown in the autumn and winter months. While the come perception is that asparagus beds are particularly difficult to maintain, if you know how to care for them properly, they can be quite simple. Weeds are one of the most common ailments for asparagus beds. So, if you are careful to keep the beds weed-free, perennial asparagus take far less work than annual vegetables. Of course, growing beautiful and edible asparagus does take a significant amount of time. Don’t think that you can simply sow your asparagus in late spring and have a beautiful crop by Christmas. It will take two years or so before you can cut your asparagus, but eventually you will have a gourmet dish at your fingertips.
Spinach is a wonderful vegetable that can stand being sown throughout October and the beginning of November. Two varieties of spinach that is particularly good for the colder months of the year are Riccio d’Asti and Merlo Nero. Spinach is a hugely popular vegetable for both its great nutritional value and its versatility. Use it in cooking or place the fresh leaves directly in a salad.
Onions and Shallots
There are several different varieties of onions that grow very well in the autumn months. For many onions and shallot varieties, you can put them in the ground in the early fall and wait to harvest them until early in the year. There are several different types that do well. Try growing Electric for red onions, Radar for a good yellow onion, and Shakespeare for a dependable white onion. These varieties are all delicious choices and great for growing during the colder months. Also, there are several varieties of shallots that are good for planting in the winter months. Shallots have a wonderful sweet flavor and store very well, so they are great to grow at home.
Garlic is one of the easiest crops to grow during any season. Be sure to be very aware of the dampness of your soil when you are trying to harvest your own garlic. For garlic cloves, you want to be sure to have fertile and well drained soil. Rotting cloves is one of the most common concerns with this kind of harvest. When planting your garlic, keep each clove about a foot apart and plant each clove individually about 2 to 3 inches deep. The depth at which you plant them will vary depending on the type of soil you use, but always keep the cloves at a minimum of one inch below the surface. Garlic can survive freezes and snowfall throughout the winter, but should be mulched regularly to prevent the cloves from heaving up from the frost.
There are several varieties of lettuce that do very well growing throughout the fall and winter. Try Niche Mixed and sow them in late September or early October. For a hardier variety try Meraviglia d’Inverno San Martino and plant these as late as November. If the weather is particularly fierce try planting the lettuce under a fleece or a perforated polythene sheet. However, these precautions may not be necessary if your winters are not very cold. If you sow the lettuce properly, you can pick fresh, home-grown crop throughout the entire winter. Lettuce is extremely versatile and a wonderful addition to any home veggie garden.
Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com.