Winter days are here and we’re excited to start enjoying the cold weather and warm meals. These meals are made infinitely better when you’ve grown the produce yourself and know exactly what has gone into caring for them. Today we are outlining the factors to consider when planting vegetables in the colder days.
Deciding to Grow Indoors or Outdoors
Nearly anything can be grown in a green house through the winter from tomatoes, lettuce, and even avocados. Rather than deciding between indoor or outdoor growing there are times when we can consider a combination of the two. When growing from seed, a great approach is to begin growing indoors and then transplant outdoors once germination is observed. Another factor can be desired tastes on winter vegetables.
As mentioned last week, there are many delectable vegetables that can be grown in the winter. When cool-season vegetables meet frost they naturally react to the cold and produce extra sugars, making these vegetables rather sweet. While you may not want a sweet garlic or radish this effect is great for cultivating sweeter peas, kale, and cauliflower. Imagine how great a naturally sweeter garden grown cauliflower would taste after being caramelized with some fresh onion and herbs in a buttered skillet. Whether growing inside or outside much like warm-season vegetables, cool-season vegetables grow well in soil pH between 6.0 to 7.0, and they thrive in well-draining soil.
Planting How To
Cool-season crops can be planted when the soil and air temperatures are at least 40 F. There are two types of cool-season crops: hardy and semi-hardy.
- Hardy Vegetables: Hard vegetables tolerate cold temperatures the best. Their seeds can germinate in cool air, and seedlings can survive up to the last spring frost. Hardy vegetables include asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, chives, collards, corn salad, garlic, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, mustard, onions, parsley, peas, radishes, rhubarb, rutabaga, spinach, and turnips. Any of which are perfect nutritious additions of warmth to a winter meal.
- Semi-Hardy Vegetables: Semi-hardy vegetables can withstand light-frost. These crops grow best when the minimum daytime temperature is between 40° - 50° Semi-hardy vegetables include: beets, carrots, cauliflower, celery, celeriac, chard, Chinese cabbage, chicory, globe artichokes, endive, lettuce, parsnips, potatoes, salsify, sorrel, and hardy herbs.
Many cool season crops that achieve maturity before or shortly after the first frost in fall. They can be protected from freezing temperatures and harvested throughout the winter with covering very easily. Cool-season vegetables are generally grown directly from seed in the garden, either as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring, or until the soil and air have reached certain minimum temperatures that are usually indicated on the seed package.
When starting to water, make sure to saturate each plant hole when you transplant seedlings. The soil should be saturated enough that the moisture percolates at least several inches down. Consider watering at a ground level (e.g., drip system) rather than above (e.g., sprinkler) as this reduces the likelihood of leaf diseases when the foliage is wet for extended periods of time.
A general rule is that plants need one inch of water per week and early in the day while dew is still on the leaves so the foliage dries off by evening. You may need to water 2-3 times per week but this also dependent on any rain in your area. Get a feel of your soil. If the soil sticks in your hand and it can form into a ball, this means the soil moisture is adequate. If it doesn’t, more watering is needed.
Winter vegetables are just one of the many great things about this time of year. We will have more information on ways to help and aid your garden through the winter month up to come. Stay updated with our blogs by following us on Facebook and Instagram. There we will alert you whenever a new blog is posted.