I am new to winter vegetable gardening. This year I’ll be trying a few greens and possibly some radishes in a large container against the south side of the house under the overhang. I have some old glass squares for a bit of a cover if needed. For 10 years I’ve been meaning to do it but I’ve finally got the spot and a few little seedlings all ready to go. I’ll share with you some of the winter veggie garden basics as it really is pretty easy.
Planting Location or Container
Any good draining spot or container that will get 6 or more hours of sun a day. Against a South wall is best if you are planting in a large container or somewhere you will not get too much winter wind. If you do have a windy spot, you can build a wind break with hay bales or bags of fall leaves. Raised beds are ideal especially with our rain. We’ve got one on wheels at the store for you to check out!
For winter protection you can build a low plastic tunnel with pvc piping and poly, or you can use bales of shavings if you are in an area with very wet winters or bales of hay if you are in an area with cold and dryish or snowy winters (wet mouldering hay is not a fun fragrance) and top with old windows or plastic. Basically you can spend many happy hours on Pinterest looking up cold frame or cloche designs and find one that meets your budget and area.
What to plant?
There are many wonderful winter vegetable books at your local library, also some great online catalogues. Our awesome catalogue… both online and in the store is the West Coast Seeds Planting Guide for Fall and Winter Harvests. It lists the veggies as well as when to plant, when to transplant and the best part…when to harvest.
When to Plant
Summer is the best time to plant your winter crops such as Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, Turnips and Cabbage. Your little seedlings need some sun and heat to get started. If you have time in the summer leave a bit of an area clear for your winter crop. If like me, you blinked and your summer was over, there is still time to plant both by seed and seedlings. There is still time for Mesculun Greens, Chives, Cilantro, Radishes and Turnips among others.
Do I fertilize my winter vegetable crop?
Why yes you do! Before planting work some good compost or well rotted manure in to the soil especially if you’ve just pulled out the summer crop. Then you can add a good all-purpose fertilizer to the soil and I like to add some rock phosphate and then get cracking with the planting!
I am really looking forward to this!! I think the veggies will continue at a more sedate pace and I won’t be in too much of a panic over watering in the heat and beating back the weeds. I will also really enjoy those greens on my toasted French bread and fancy cheese - very civilized!!