It might seem odd to be talking about winter gardening in August, but this is actually the perfect time to start thinking about your winter garden. If you want to grow your own fresh and organic vegetables throughout the year, now is the time to sow the seeds as your plants will need about six months to develop fully. Here are some quick tips on how to plan and start your winter garden now so that you can reap the benefits in the winter months.
1. Choose your plants. Winter gardening will allow you to eat healthy home-grown vegetables at a time when they are not available locally, and this will also save you money since you won’t have to purchase these vegetables at a premium during the winter months. Certain plants are better suited for winter gardening than others, and broccoli, carrots, beets, arugula, and parsnips are all great options. For more information about the best types of vegetables to grow, consult a seed catalogue.
2. Preserve excess spring crops for the winter. If you’ve had a bountiful harvest in the spring, you can always freeze the leftovers and use them in the winter months. This works especially well with berries, including raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries.
3. Use small pots rather than large garden beds. This makes it easier to protect your seeds and to tend to them (watering, etc.) as the weather gets colder.
4. Cover your plants with plastic sheeting. If you form structures resembling a plastic tent around your pots, these coverings will act like small greenhouses by conserving heat inside the pot while also protecting the plant from harsh weather conditions.
Although the most valuable gardening lessons are learned through experience, I hope that this quick guide will set you on your way to starting up your own winter garden. For more information about gardening, feel free to e-mail me at Barbara.Grumme@Century21.ca.