Most people love gardening during spring and summer. It is a most cherished experience for those who enjoy tilling the soil and are able to appreciate the fruit of their labor, literally. However, not everyone realize that gardening is exciting in winter too. Growing your own lovely winter vegetables can be as exciting if you know how to make the colder months work to your gardening advantage.
To ensure that your winter vegetables thrive successfully, you must follow some techniques so that your gardening experience will be easy and productive. Remember, there are vegetables that can be grown even during the colder months. Some of the plants that grow well in cooler months are garlic, onions, carrots and beets. Cabbage, spinach, kale and collard can thrive in the early winter months as well.
The key is to know the tricks on how to go about your gardening. If this is your first time to try winter gardening, then it is best to keep it as simple as possible so you will not be overwhelmed. Planting four to five kinds of vegetables will be a good idea. Once you get the hang of it, and depending on the size of your garden, you will be more confident to plant more varieties when the next winter comes.
Here are some useful tips:
- Most vegetables need sun in order to grow so the foremost consideration would be to locate your winter vegetables garden beds in an area where it is exposed throughout the day to as much sun as possible. It is also advisable to plant tall growers at the back and the low ones in front to maximize sun exposure.
- Your gardening will be easier if you plant your winter vegetables in raised garden beds instead of putting them directly into the ground. This allows for easier temperature control and harvesting. And as always in gardening, make sure you are using the best quality soil mixed with compost.
- It is also important to be aware of the possibility of frost damage. Be proactive and know how much frost your area gets so that you can take the appropriate precautions and safeguards for your winter vegetables. One idea of protecting your plants from frost is to build a greenhouse over your garden beds. Your greenhouse doesn’t have to be an elaborate one; stakes and clear plastic will do as long as you make it strong enough to withstand frost, rain and wind. Using clear plastic also ensures that your plants still get the sunshine they need.
- Be mindful of your watering habits. Often, plants need less watering during this time because water in the soil does not evaporate as fast as in warmer months. It is best to water your plants in the morning so that it is absorbed during the day. If you water them during night time, the water can freeze overnight and damage your plant. Check your soil for proper hydration by feeling it with your fingers. It should be just moist. Otherwise, your winter vegetables may be “sitting” on the water and the roots will rot. Watering in the morning and allowing the moisture to be absorbed during the day has the added benefit of keeping slugs and snails at bay, as they love the cool moist conditions and will thrive if you water in the evening and leave your garden moist all night.
- Use hessian or burlap to cover your plant beds during the colder months. The coarse material will provide additional warmth for your plants and protect them from being damaged.
Remember, good planning is essential if we want to have a productive winter garden. If we know the techniques of growing winter vegetables, you will be able to extend the growing season and enjoy your vegetables throughout the year. The cold weather has its way of making us inactive. If you need motivation to be active, then gardening is a good idea. You will get good exercise by moving around tending your plants. Not only that, your meals will be more exciting when you have fresh vegetables from your garden providing your family with nutrients to boost your health and immune system.
The benefits of winter gardening are aplenty. Even if you don’t have a well-developed garden, a small garden patch will allow you and your family to enjoy some of the most nutritious winter vegetables. With the correct techniques and very little expense, your efforts will pay off handsomely.