Nothing is more satisfying than planting and harvesting your own produce. Farm fresh foods are free from harmful chemicals and retain many of the nutrients that are lost in transport and storage in your local grocery store.
With the winter season officially begun, many gardening lovers are giving their green thumbs a break. Why sit idle when there are plenty of winter-thriving crops, though? These plants of various vegetable and fruit varieties can be planted throughout the winter season and will provide delicious provisions well into spring.
Many southern areas of the U.S. are more suited to yield winter crops, while the most northern regions may need to rely on greenhouses. Look over the list below and determine what will work for you this winter. Before you plant, be sure to research the average date of the first killing frost in your region to time your planting accordingly.
Garlic is generally regarded as one of the easiest crops to grow and is one of the few plants that actually benefits from a period of growth in the cold. Its long growing season means it won’t be ready to harvest until next summer. This herb is used widely as a flavoring in numerous culinary efforts and has been linked to medicinal benefits.
Simply plant the cloves at 2.5 inches deep in light soils and much less in heavy soils, but always a minimum of 1 inch below the surface. If your soil is heavy and holds water, dig a hole with a spade and put about an inch of sand into the base with the clove planted on top, covered with a bit of compost.
For the best onion-growing results, use bulbs not seeds and plant in January or February. Winter onions (potato onions, Egyptian onions, catawissa onions or hill onions) are hardy vegetables that are easy to plant and care for. The majority of their growth occurs over the winter months, but they like regular water and well-amended soil.
If planted this winter, your delicious onions will be ready to eat in your salad, in your soup, on your burger, or chopped up into a relish in the spring. For more about onion care, click here.
These easy crops require few things including loose, rich soil free of clods and stones and a soil temperature anywhere between 45 and 85 F. If temperatures drop below 40 F, use poly row covers or plant blankets to protect the seedlings. Most carrot plants take 70 to 80 days to mature, so plan your homemade carrot cake accordingly.
For more information on growing carrots year-round, click here.
Overwintering strawberries in areas with mild winters means little to no care may be required. These fruits are cold hardy and will survive mildly freezing temperatures without much problem. More northern regions where the temperature drops below 20 F will require extra attention and mulching. For more specifics about overwintering strawberries, click here.
For a fresh supply of herbs all winter, create your own indoor windowsill herb garden. Plenty of herbs can grow successfully through the winter on a sunny windowsill including chives, oregano, rosemary, thyme and parsley.
Simply dig up a few clumps into 6-inch containers filled with fresh potting mix and place your herb seedlings inside. Then place the pots in a south-facing window that receives plenty of light during the day.
If you’re hesitant to venture outdoors during this frosty season or live in an area whose temperature isn’t exactly nurturing, trying Logro Farms’ growing-made-simple kits. Grow mushrooms, wheatgrass and microgreens from the comfort of your home and the first harvest is ready in only a matter of weeks.