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Gardening in Winter in Canada

I also signed up for your newsletter. I used to live in the Niagara area where I successfully overwintered tender perennials such as rosemary and lavender — however, I am now in Ottawa, 5b at best. Maybe the heat from the straw cover as it composts a little will help. Hi April, When I lived in a 5b growing zone, I used tall raised beds with lids 2 feet high. I had hardware cloth on the lids and sandwiched them in tarp. I found if the beds were facing the sun, they retained enough heat for the plants to survive.

Nothing much grows in the bitter cold: they just stay dormant. Let me know what you try and how it goes. Hi Melissa; I was wondering if I can just keep my swiss chard, few different types of kale including Kalettes and beets growing as best they can throughout the winter the same ones that I grew all summer and fall.

I have them in a raised box and having been covering the plants with thick white plastic during cold nights and plan to make a poly tunnel over top of the bed for the duration of the winter to try to keep them going; I will be putting a plastic cover over top of the plastic hoops and tying it down; will this work? I live in Mississauga, Ont.

Hi Yvonne, Yes, you can keep them going. The goal is to keep them from getting damp and then freezing solid. Alone or in combination they all work. If you can get it, poly made for greenhouses is very good. You can see some examples here:. Otherwise, a roll of poly from a place like Home Depot is fine. I like it 3 mil thick so it can stand up to the wind and snow. Check on your crops, especially when the weather has either warmed or gone crazy with cold and snow, to be sure everything is safe and sound.

Also, check the soil and water as needed. Good luck. I hope this helps. I can never encourage my legs outside to the cold! Do you actually harvest in the winter or is this a first spring picking? They grow during warm spells. I harvest salad greens all winter long. It all depends on how cold the winter is for the other veggies.

I have a great place for planting and keeping a garden out of the wind so I am excited about trying a winter garden. The idea of fresh greens in the winter is just to good to pass up! I hope you try it! I think you should clarify this to be zones five and higher.

I really doubt any of this would help us in COLD zones such as 1, 2 and 3.

Johnny's Winter Growing Guide

Have you had success in temperatures? There are gardeners in colder zones who are using the same principles to extend their growing seasons. In the process of designing a greenhouse to extend my growing season? Wondering whether it can be used for winter gardening as well. Yes, you can use a greenhouse the same way I use a covered raised bed.

Hi Melissa, I absolutely love your blog and newsletter. Planning for Spring and reading your words through the winter will help get me through! Thank you so much for your fun, joyful and informative posts! I use wire hoops over my raised beds which I cover with frost cloth as well as plastic.

Growing Winter Vegetables - Sunset Magazine

Melissa you are adorable! I want to do all the things to my yard that you have on here. Several things stand in my way; age, disability, money… Thank you for being a joy! Thank you Amy! Greatly informative, concise and helpful!

How to Grow Winter Veges

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Email. There are several different things you can use to prevent freezing including: Raised beds with lids Frost cloths Polytunnels Greenhouses or a combination of these things If growing in containers, find something to insulate them with such as old comforters or straw. I start the carrots and radishes outdoors in August. The salad greens are sown directly into the soil in September.

I also toss in more seeds throughout the winter months.

2) Mini Hoop Tunnels

On damp, freezing days, I keep everything tucked in nice and snug. Also, the crops may need occassional watering. If you shut off your outdoor water lines in the winter, have a plan for how you will bring water to your cold frames or polytunnels. Radishes grow easily and quickly, with some small-rooted varieties ready in a month or less from the day of seeding. Lettuce — Like onions, lettuce appreciates fertile soil and regular water.

Some are more suitable for warmer months, some for cooler. There are dozens of varieties, including heirloom and redleaf. Mesclun — a combination of several lettuces such as arugula, chervil, chicory and cress — grows beautifully in our climate. Sow seeds in January or February or check your local nursery for starts.

Peas — November and February are the best months to plant peas. Poke shelling or snap pea seeds an inch or two deep directly into rich soil and give them something tall to climb up and wind their tendrils around. Pea shoots are delicacies for birds, so you may need to cover your sprouts with a floating row cover or anything that keeps birds at bay but that lets sunshine and rain in.

What to plant and harvest in the winter vegetable garden

Potatoes — Like peas, a good time to plant potatoes is in February, with the satisfying potato harvest around three months later. Potatoes are a joy to harvest for adults and kids alike. Depending on the variety, potatoes are usually grown from pieces of tubers that have at least one eye or from whole small tubers. Swiss chard and other greens — Swiss chard is like an exclamation point in the winter vegetable garden, lighting up beds with bright pink, yellow and red stalks. Other greens, such as spinach, kale and bok choy, are also easy.


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These greens can be used for salads or can be braised in stir-fries or thrown into soups. Most greens relish cool temperatures and go to seed in warm weather. By Marie Narlock. Enter Search Terms Search.

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