If you enjoy eating fresh vegetables year round, you may have thought about having a wintertime garden. Even if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and cold weather, it’s possible to grow vegetables or decorative flowers during the winter. All you need to do is use the right methods. Following are a few winter gardening tips.
Extend the Season
One of the primary reasons to grow plants during the winter is so you can expand the typical growing season. Some people simply enjoy fresh vegetables, while others appreciate having fresh flowers decorating their home during the winter. Whatever your reason, it’s possible to extend the growing season. All you need is the desire and a bit of knowledge.
Decide What You’re Going to Grow
Before proceeding with planting a garden during the winter, you should decide what type of flowers or vegetables you’d like to grow. Find out what plants will grow during winter months, and what growing conditions you’ll need to duplicate in order to have a successful winter garden.
Do Your Research
If you hope to be successful in your winter gardening endeavor, you’ll need to be as well educated as possible about the types of plants that you’ll be able to grow and how to do it. Planning the garden is imperative, because you’re bound to make a bunch of mistakes if you don’t do your research first. There is no such thing as too much information, but there is definitely a downside to not knowing enough.
Protect Your Plants
Winter weather can be harsh. In some areas of the United States, snow, ice, and cold weather are the order of the day. For months on end the ground is frozen, and when the wind blows, the chill factor can drop the temperature exponentially. That means your plants need to be protected much more than they do during the warmer months.
Block the Wind
Even though the cold temperatures by themselves are destructive enough, if you add in a stiff wind, it feels like it’s much colder. Add to that the fact that high winds can destroy plants, even if it’s not too cold, and you will realize that you must construct some sort of barricade to keep the cold wind from affecting your winter garden.
Build a Greenhouse
Due to the fact that cold weather isn’t conducive to growing vegetables or flowers, you’ll need to protect the plants if you want them to grow. That means building some sort of greenhouse. A greenhouse doesn’t need to be too complex–it can be something as simple as a few hoops covered by plastic and securely anchored in the soil. It should also be weighted down so it isn’t damaged by high winds. The more secure the greenhouse, the better it will be able to withstand the winter weather. If you have the means, a larger, more secure greenhouse will allow you to grow year round, especially if it is climate controlled.
Find Out What Hardiness Zone You’re In
After doing your research and deciding what you want to grow, but before you actually begin planting, you should find out whether or not your chosen plants are likely to grow where you live. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has divided the North American continent into Hardiness Zones. You can contact your local university extension agent to determine which USDA Hardiness Zone you’re in.
Don’t Grow the Wrong Plants
Once you know what Hardiness Zone you’re in, you will be able to find out whether or not the plants you’ve chosen are likely to grow in your area. It’s important to know ahead of time, so you don’t waste your time and money trying to grow vegetables or flowers that usually require a different environment.
Brighten the House with Decorative Plants
Even though most people want fresh vegetables, having fresh flowers to display will brighten your home during the drab winter months. Don’t overlook the importance of waking up in the morning and seeing a vase of colorful flowers on the cupboard or kitchen table.
Grow Fresh Winter Vegetables
Of course, as nice as it would be to see some color in your home during the winter, for most people it would be a whole lot better to hear and taste the crunchiness of fresh vegetables at suppertime. A few of the veggies you could grow during the winter are carrots, rhubarb, spinach, or pumpkins.
Guest post from Bailey Harris. Bailey writes for HomeSecurity.org.
Published in: Gardening