Winter Garden: Planting Crops for the Cold Season

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winter garden

Most crops grow in the summers to be harvested in the winter or later. However, times are changing and a winter garden is a new way to not keep your garden empty during the cold months.

This cold and less sunny season is usually dormant.

But certain crops and vegetables can grow through tougher conditions.

Moreover, using greenhouses and cold frames can help to deal with a lack of sunlight and cold temperatures.

Though, it is important to remember that if the temperatures usually drop below -4 degrees Celcius in your region then your plants require protection.

This article discusses how you can maintain a garden in winters and what crops to grow in the cold months.

Keep reading to know more!

planting crops

Setting Up the Winter Garden for Crops

Winder Gardening is not only limited to planting crops during the cold months.

In fact, you can also grow food during the hot summers to enjoy their harvest in winters.

Moreover, growing edible crops should not be the only goal.

You can also plant flowers, colorful stark stems, and parchment grass.

Winter Gardening involves:

  • Planting crops that are short season so that they harvest before temperatures drop
  • Using slow-growing crops that only harvest in late winter or early spring
  • Harvesting crops in winter while planting them in summers
  • Protecting crops so they grow in winters

As you harvest the summer crops, you have a small window to plant crops that grow quickly to harvest them before the temperatures fall drastically.

Growing plants within 3 to 6 weeks and eating them before the temperatures plummet is possible.

These include vegetables such as lettuce, radishes, turnip and mustard greens.

Moreover, you can plant crops that grow slowly enough to only harvest them in early spring or late winters.

While you plant them in the cold weather, they go dormant when the temperature drops.

Initially, they are not fully grown when they are planted in the fall.

After the dormant winters, they begin growing as the weather gets warmer.

They are known as overwintered crops.

Their harvest is rather quick at the time you plant next season’s crops.

Furthermore, they do not require protection from the cold weather as they go dormant.

These include cauliflower, broccoli, onion and garlic.

shielding plants

Also planting crops in fall and summer to harvest them in winter gives you plenty of food during the winters.

They reach maturity before winters arrive.

They also hold well during the cold months so that you can harvest and eat them fresh.

The likes of parsley, peas, spinach and root vegetables are in this category.

One of the main limitations of the cold season is less sunlight.

This is especially a hindrance while growing vegetables.

Though, there are ways to maintain the sunlight and provide heat to your plants.

Using greenhouses or row cover for plants helps to protect your plants and gives them enough time to grow.

The cover provides them heat that enables them to grow properly despite the harsher climates in the open.

Hence, all plants that grow in the cold can benefit from cover.

winter garden flowers

Winter Gardening for Flowers and Plants

Your garden will not look withered in the cold if you plant flowers, shrubs and plants wisely.

You can also try different methods of planting them such as making a flower bed or container gardening.

Winter plants such as topiary balls add texture, color and volume to an otherwise dry season.

Hence, you need to choose the right plants, flowers and shrubs to plant in your garden.

Planting these shrubs, flowers and trees in autumn is ideal.

This is because the soil is warmer in comparison to how it will be in winters.

Thus, you want to grow plants that have multi-season interests.

These include autumn foliage, flowers such as daphnes, evergreen plants that growl all year long, Cornus for flowers, winter stems.

Flower Varieties 

Winter flowers usually have a rich fragrance.

This is because the strong fragrance likely attracts bumblebees and moths for pollination.

The varieties include winter honeysuckle, witch hazels and white hellebores.

While these winter flowers may not look as appealing as the summer varieties, this is nonetheless the time for muted brown hues to bloom.

Adding these to your flower garden can make it fragrant as well as vibrant in the dry, cold and gloomy weather.

Fruits such as Berries

If flowers are not enough to give your garden some vibrancy and colors, think about growing fruiting plants.

Winter fruits such as berries add bright colors such as pink, purple, red and orange.

Berries grow well in winters as they do not require as much pruning, and can survive the harsh climates.

They not only grow in winters but also in drought or windy weather.

Grow them as a boundary plant against a wall such as the ornamental crab apples.

stems and barks

Stems and Barks 

Why would barren stems and barks have a place in your garden?

Because colored varieties can add vibrancy and liveliness in cold and depressing weather.

Look into willow variety to select stems of colors purple, red, orange and even black.

Plant them in the area where there is little sunshine so that they hold their own.

Barks can also look beautiful especially colored ornamental bark.

These are in salmon pink and cinnamon red colors with smooth or furrowed texture.

While winters are dry and cold, deciduous trees have their own presence in this weather.

Varieties such as oaks and acres look appealing as it is without any leaves or greens with plain barks.

growing vegetables

Vegetables to Grow

Now that you are prepared for winters, it is time to know what vegetables can you actually plant and consume during these months.

Either you can let them grow reasonably before the first frost or you can overwinter them.

By overwintering, you will harvest them in late winters or early spring.

Whereas using the other method you can harvest them anytime during the cold.

You can plant Garlic in late fall to harvest it in early summer.

Since it grows in the ground and needs mulching and composting for protection from the weather, it grows quite easily.

Another easy-to-grow crop is Kale. 

You can harvest it in winter by planting it in August.

However, it may not tolerate snowfall even if it can survive freezing temperatures.

Beets can stay in the ground throughout winters if you mulch them properly.

You can plant them around 6 to 8 weeks before the first frost.

Either consume them as baby greens or let them stay inside throughout the winters.

An overwintering crop is an Onion.

They will grow in late winters and harvest in early spring.

Hence, transplant the seedling around August.

You can also overwinter Peas and Cabbage. 

Broad Beans also grow slowly.

They will grow through the winters if planted in late autumn.

Harvesting is only possible in early spring.

Carrots are winter treats. No wonder they make the snowman’s nose.

Carrots are planted in July or August to grow to a good size till winters and then harvested.

They can hold in the soil for long.

Moreover, you can grow crops under cover such as :

  • Bok choy
  • Parsley
  • Lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Swiss Chard
  • Spinach

They can grow outdoors before the hard frost.

Next, they need protection so that there is enough time for the harvest.

winder garden tips

Other Tips for Making a Winter Garden

For stems and barks choose hardy plants that have colored stems.

Moreover, use different shapes, sizes, textures and colors to give your garden a lively look throughout.

Moreover, you can begin planting the seeds in trays.

Whenever there is a vacant bed to plant in the soil, you can shift the seedling to the garden.

Also, it saves you a few weeks and you can harvest your plant earlier.

Winters may not have enough sun but it has plenty of frost, wind and snow.

You can use raised beds to help lift the garden soil in areas where there is wet weather in winters.

They will keep the soil away from the soggy ground and facilitate drainage.

Moreover, they warm up quicker during springs.

Besides wetness and frost, wind plays a part in causing harm to plants too.

You can protect them by using a windbreak, keeping plants in a row cover or shelter, and using polytunnels.

Hence, keeping them in cover will not only extend the time for their growth but also protect them from other damages due to the weather conditions.

Also, when you harvest a crop in the winters it is better to plant cover crops till you plant new seeds in spring.

Cover crops can keep your soil fertile by preventing soil erosion, controlling compaction, weeds and replenishing nutrients.

Therefore, plant them in between to restore your soil’s health.

Summing Up 

Your garden can look as beautiful in the winters as in spring or summer.

Choosing the right variety of flowers, barks, stems, fruits and vegetables can make your winter garden productive and vibrant throughout the cold weather.

Thus, do not let your garden dry out in the cold rather make it a source for your happiness.


2 thoughts on “Winter Garden: Planting Crops for the Cold Season

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