Vegetable garden in winter...how's yours?

Discussion in 'General Gardening' started by Omie, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. Omie

    Omie New Member

    Messages:
    2,845
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thought I'd start this thread for when we veggie gardeners get bored during the winter.
    I realize that many of you live in warm areas where winter may not actually put an end to raising garden produce, but perhaps that will add amusing variety to the discussion.

    Here in NY, aside from the bizarre 10" snowfall we had back in October(!), it's been really warm so far. The past few days we've had sunny 60F highs, which is fairly unheard of in December for us. Today it's dropped back to more usual temps of daytime highs of 40F or so.

    My veggie garden is mostly cleared out, bare ground. But I do have some odd little patches of baby lettuce, spinach, and carrots and I'm not sure what will come of them, they are too small to pick. I still have some scallions, a rather distressed clump of Swiss chard, and a few red kale plants that bravely produce a handful of leaves now and then. I chop those few leaves into soups when I can.
    There are quite a few baby kale 'volunteers' that sprang up from seed on their own, and I transplanted them to their own spot a month ago. They seem to be defying the freezes so far, and are fresh and pretty to look at even though they are too small to produce much of anything. My sage plant is still hanging in there.
    I dug up my two large rosemary plants and potted them in the living room, since rosemary always dies over the winter outside here for me. They started as little cheap 6" pots I bought this Spring, and over the summer became lush and impressive. I put them by the windows and strung tiny Christmas lights on them and they look very festive! If they live through the winter inside (which they should, I did a good job potting them) then I can put them outside again in the Spring.

    What are you all up to in your vegetable gardens?
     
  2. Hog Wild

    Hog Wild New Member

    Messages:
    277
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Collard greens-lots and lots of collard greens. We had a couple of good frosts, the greens are nice and tender just begging for some ham hocks!
     

  3. Walt B

    Walt B New Member

    Messages:
    1,146
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    We recently got some rain :eek: and, with the cooler weather, the tomato plants started setting fruit. We picked them all the other day because the forecast said it would drop to freezing...it didn't, but last night it got down to 26. We'll see how they ripen in the house.

    The garlic bed is doing what garlic does, and the asparagus garden is dormant. Half of the large garden has been tilled and carrots planted in one corner. The other half is waitng for all the spent plants to be removed and tilled. The seasonal garden has lettuces, brocchili, and spinach.

    Speaking of tilling, if you want to drive your spouse crazy, in your best Willie voice, sing:

    "If you've got the garden honey, I've got the tines;
    We'll go out and break some clods, have a real good time;
    We'll use my new tiller, leave your old mule behind;
    If you've got the garden honey, I've got the tines."

    Walt
     
  4. Noronajo

    Noronajo New Member

    Messages:
    211
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    We picked green tomatoes before our first frost in October, made piccalilli and kept the larger ones to see of they would ripen. We ate the last tomato the second day of December. We still have turnips and kale- they look green and beautiful from my kitchen window even though the temperature was in the low twenties this morning.
     
  5. RE Jones

    RE Jones New Member

    Messages:
    204
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Living in Florida, turnips, collards and mustard throughout the winter. All of mine are doing fine. I will plant a bunch of carrots as they seem to do better in the winter for me.
    Blueberries and blackberries are still green and growing, some of the blueberries have already bloomed. They should not have, but we'll see what happens.
     
  6. rast

    rast New Member

    Messages:
    1,042
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Just some greens this winter. Collards Sunday night, leftovers last night. Along with my pepper sauce I make.
     
  7. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

    Messages:
    1,399
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Most of my garden is toast. There are a few scraggly broccoli plants and some Swiss Chard. Still a few carrots that I need to pull, but everything else is bedded down under a layer of manure and straw.

    Omie - I've had luck tossing a piece of clear plastic over the remains of chard. It looks awful in the spring, but starts back up quickly. It goes to seed quickly, but not before you are the only one in town eating fresh chard in April!
     
  8. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

    Messages:
    3,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Turnips is the only thing left here, but man can't live on turnips alone. Had a uncle tell me one time that he never liked turnips when he was a kid, but Hoover made him like them. :mrgreen: Jack
     
  9. Omie

    Omie New Member

    Messages:
    2,845
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hobie, i might try that on my chard- I have a row of baby chard I planted from seed in October- it's about 3" tall now.

    At the moment my whole garden is under about 2" of fluffy new snow, so I think I'll just stay inside and read about y'alls gardens today! lol

    Jack- must have been a lot of turnip stews cooked over bonfires in Hoovervilles back then. ....and we'd be smart to not throw away our turnip recipes any time soon!
     
  10. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Pulled up my tomato stakes and bean trellis today. Hope to turn the garden over if it ever dries enough.
     
  11. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

    Messages:
    554
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    We usually don't plant a Fall garden,but this year we planted beets,carrots,spinach and sweet peas,all are doing great.We've been enjoying the fresh spinach and hopefully the rest by Jan.
     
  12. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

    Messages:
    3,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    For us who live where we have hard winters. (-o. F) It sounds odd to hear folks are planting now and going to harvest in Jan. :confused: Jack
     
  13. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

    Messages:
    1,249
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    As of this morning, my garden is covered with that dreaded white stuff. (I'm too polite to mentin the S word :mrgreen: )
     
  14. crackerbee

    crackerbee New Member

    Messages:
    554
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Near the end of Jan. is when I plant my first crop of sweet corn,and the rest of the Spring garden goes in mid Mar. :mrgreen:
     
  15. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

    Messages:
    3,276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    You can usually call the 10th of May the last frost date here, but it has frost on the 15th a few times. :roll: Already starting to get seed catalogs in the mail. :mrgreen: Jack
     
  16. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

    Messages:
    1,053
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    We garden year round under plastic hoops. This year's garden is on the light side because we are still working on getting our energy and strength built back up. Right now we are eating fresh kale and a little spinach, I just picked the last of the strawberry and blackberry leaves to dry for teas, and a few weeks back I transplanted all of my asparagus to a new bed where hopefully it will produce better.
     
  17. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

    Messages:
    1,399
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Mama Beek... how do you do it? I saw something similar in Mother Earth News, and I thought it was a great idea so I tried it a few winters ago. What resulted was an absolutely fantastic terrarium environment for the mice/moles, with a smorgasbord growing inside. They lived in luxury and feasted on my carrots and chard, and I ended up with nothing.

    I emailed Mother Earth News to ask this same question, but they never responded.

    Needless to say, I gave up on tunnels. Now the mice just live in my house.
     
  18. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

    Messages:
    1,053
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    We used cinder blocks to build raised beds for some of the things that mice and moles like to bother and the bottom is hardware cloth so they can't eat my carrots anymore. Other than that we have two tunnels that the kids built out of scrap wood and two that are concrete fence bent over the top of the raised bed.

    I plant while it's still warm enough for the seeds to germinate or transplant things I started in the house. Keep the beds mulched with leaves to help generate some heat and in colder climates you can even go so far as to layer a few inches of manure under a few inches of soil to generate even more heat. On warm days we have to be sure to prop them open or my plants will roast.

    The hardest part for me is remembering to water them...it's so easy to forget. We sure do enjoy fresh greens all year and even salads in the coldest months. Back in the midwest I used to hang a lightbulb in my "salad bed" on the coldest nights...but then I was a serious salad junkie in my younger years :D
     
  19. srvfantexasflood

    srvfantexasflood New Member

    Messages:
    910
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Mama Beek- My hat is off to you!
     
  20. Omie

    Omie New Member

    Messages:
    2,845
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Yeah Mamabeek, that's pretty impressive!

    I still have some green kale, spinach, and scallions growing, but they are pretty beat up looking at this point from the several 20F days and nights we've had already. They're just in the open so I'm surprised they are even alive at this point! But they are not looking good enough to try to bother picking edible bits off them. But the red kale threw down lots of seed a couple months ago and I do have a couple dozen baby red kale plants growing happily- come Spring I bet they will take off and grow fast and I won't have to buy any kale seed or seedlings this year.