When I first started to plan a vegetable garden I came across the idea of gardening all year around, in every season. This concept fascinates me! And so this year I plan to grow vegetables all year. I have 5 raised beds, the fifth one just came in the mail, and I read that you can take flexible pvc pipes and arc them over the beds thus creating a coldframe. The ends are stuck into the ground far enough down so that they are unable to move. Then a thicker plastic (or layers of plastic) is thrown over the beds and pinned down with garden stakes. When you need to water you just pull a stake out, lift up the plastic and water. When it’s time to cut some spinach for salad, just remove a stake and lift up the plastic. This year I’m going to try the plastic that is put down when you paint. It seems durable enough to stand up to snow and cold temperatures. I would love to hear what others do if you grow vegetables in the winter.
A book I’m using as my go to source is Four Season Harvest. The author shares a lot about cold frames and what you can grow in them during the colder months. Right now as I am preparing my beds for planting and collecting my seed starting materials together in order to start the sowing and growing process, I am also thinking about what I want to grow in the late fall and winter. I am excited about the prospect of going to my backyard in December and collecting fresh greens to make a salad! Can you imagine! Or perhaps you don’t have to because you are already a winter gardener and so you know all to well the opportunities that lay before you.
My mind is swirling with all the options I have in hearty winter vegetables. I will make a list over the next few weeks of what I plan to grow in the winter. Eliot Coleman the author of Four Season Harvest shares the idea of throwing all your leftover seeds into your garden beds in late fall, leaving them be and then revisiting them a few weeks later. He says the ones that are hearty will grow and the ones that are not hearty won’t grow. I could see this with seeds you have to use up, that are perhaps older but I think I would rather search online for what is a hearty vegetable and what is not.
One concept I am taking away as a newer gardener is the importance of having a vision and a plan. The vision of what I want is incredibly motivating and creates hope in me for the possibilities that lie ahead. The planning helps me to be realistic in terms of my space, my finances and energy level. And it keeps me on track with what needs planted when. The art of gardening to me is a lot like the art of baking, bear with me. Baking is incredibly creative and you can produce an assortment of beautiful items but baking is also a science in that it requires specific measurements. Gardening too is this way I am finding. The specific measurements are a bit more flexible but other than that if you want your beautiful item to turn into its most beautiful potential it requires planning and specificity in soil conditions, how much to water, when to plant it, when to harvest it for its peak flavor and when or how to prune. Just my thoughts.