Fall/Winter Gardening – Who’s Doing It?
Cat and I finished another round of our fall/winter planting this past weekend. Mustard, broccoli, cabbages, about 87 kinds of lettuce, radishes, beets (I think), carrots and probably some other things. We’re fortunate because our little bubble of SE Virginia is a Zone 9a/9b and we can have an outdoor garden just about year round.
This is our first shot at a fall/winter planting – we used numerous seasonal guides for this part of Virginia, so we’re pretty sure we did it close to correct.
Anybody else out there doing a fall/winter planting? We’re looking for shared experiences so we can minimize the slope of our learning curve.
As a side note, we are on our second bumper of tomatoes, third bumper of peppers, first bumper of Ichiban eggplant (these are very tasty and if you like eggplant and can grow them where you live, I’d strongly suggest it). Also harvested the first round of our sweet potatoes ranging in size from a softball to a shooter marble (okay, we dug those up too soon), with a bunch of other plants still in the boxes.
I’m not doing it yet – but I’m highly interested in this topic and plan to do it! What is your weather in Virginia in wintertime? Zone 9 sounds pretty good, I think I’m are in Zone 5-7. Here in Hamburg we had for example in january lowest degree 12 C and highes 10 C with some snow and more rain. Through wintertime we had lowest degree 16 C and highes 12 C. Therefore I’m planning to construct some hotbeds and coldframes based on the square foot gardening.
From experience in my childhood I know, that in wintertime green cabage works really good. For this winter I’m planning to test the lambs lettuce.
Good luck with your Fall/Winter Gardening! If you have any literature, that you like, I’m grateful for comments!
Thanks & very best greetings to Cat
since I don’t have a yard yet, I’m not doing it.
but on a related topic, I’m curious if a little greenhouse would allow people in colder climates to grow year round? or does the sun cycle interfere winter growing anyway?
Greenhouse is a good alternative, even a “cold” Greenhouse, but it is expensive. That reminds me on the book of Helen & Scott Nearing “The good life” – the described how to grow food even in winter in there garden in vermont. Have to re-read it to get some ideas…
Best greetings from northern Germany,
Hi Regina –
It doesn’t get below freezing very often in our part of Virginia and if it does, it doesn’t last for too long. We have a handful of days each winter that drop down to the mid to low 20s, but those are few and far between. I’d say on average we are just above freezing for the average winter low temperatures. Of course it only takes an Alberta clipper or two to freeze everything, and the very rare Panhandle hook that dumps about 20 inches of snow on us.
Cat and I are also thinking about putting in a few cold frames or some PVC hoop houses. We’ll see how that develops. Whatever we end up doing we’ll keep you updated on how things are going and any lessons learned.
Really enjoyed the pictures of the new cabin too. Take care.
I just planted some winter wheat and beans to get some nitrogen into the ground for next year. I’m also getting ready to plant my garlic. We’ll see how it goes. Here in N. VA we get some pretty cold weather depending on the year and it could come earlier rather than later. One nice thing is some of my brussels sprouts that I planted too late in the spring are now coming back and giving a nice little crop. Same with some of my brocollini (at least the ones that survived a little ground hog <may he rest in peace> that got into my garden a wreaked havoc for a week or so). It’s all an experiment this year so anything I get I’m pretty happy.
We looked at this year’s SFG effort as proof of concept too and I think we did pretty well all things considered.
What kind of beans did you plant? Soybeans have come in nicely in the fields down in this part of VA, but it’s too too late for us to plant any this year. I’ve always heard that soybeans are a great N2 crop. We expect to have something going in the beds just about year round so I’m not sure Cat would be willing to give up any space just yet, although the winter wheat might be an interesting option. I wonder if oat grass does the same thing?
We had the same experience with our cabbage, broccoli and brussells sprouts (less the 4 legged target) and lost a couple of each to heat and cabbage loopers. We’ve managed to nurse some along through the summer and should be picking the little turtle heads soon.
Keep us updated as to how your garden works out over the fall/winter stretch.
We are now ready to pick the sweet potatoes and Pumpkins . zone 5-7 Getting our fall picking of green beans . Still harvesting tomatoes The beets and carrots are looking good .
This will be my first year for a greenhouse . Did you see the one on the front of the Mother Earth News .. made from recycled windows ? It is much like the one we built early this year . We are putting gutters on to collect rain water .
On a sad note . Our friends house caught fire this week . All their canned goods gone .. such hard work up in flames . We are planning a canned good / garden tool shower to lift her spirits . Good news is that the bones of the house are in good shape and they will rebuild .
Hi Full Moon. So sorry to hear about your friend’s place burning! I am glad she has good neighbors/friends like you to help her over the hard time.
Dogs, I haven’t started a fall crop yet, but am planning to plant garlic at a minimum. I planted cloves in the spring only to be told it was a fall crop. Tell that to my garlic!:) But I will try it the “right” way too, to see what happens. I am in the same situation as LR, and I think you and Cats, where this is my first real garden, so it is very much a learning experience. So whatever I get from the garden is a bonus.
I planted about 3 different varieties of shell beans (beans to dry and save) to see how they did and what did best, and they are ready to harvest. I also planted some more late bean, late carrots, and late cucumbers to replace my tomatoes and potatoes which got the blight and had to be ripped out (I shared that woe on another thread earlier this summer). But there was a lesson learned: don’t put all your survival-food (eggs) in one basket; diversify!
I have asparagus I started this spring, that is growing nice ferny plants, that I will be able to harvest (I think) this next spring. It is a perennial, which you’ve gotta love, and supposedly their beds last many years.
And of all the silly things, I’m picking strawberries in September! I planted the strawberry beds this spring, and followed the advice I read to pinch off flowers and runners this first year, so the plants can grow strong and establish themselves. But I got a little behind lately, and what a kick it is to see strawberries just begging to pop out! Not a lot, a stray handful here and there. But encouraging for a first-time gardener like me!
DIAP, it sounds like you and Cats kicked butt and took no names with your garden!! I envy you the year-round growing season, and wonder like other folks here about doing coldframes (?) or a greenhouse (or potato barrel?) to try to grow something during our cold, snowy winter.
I’m also thinking about putting in another raised bed garden this fall, and getting all the soil etc in it that I’d need now. I need more growing room, and I’m thinking that getting the additional garden set up now might be a good precaution. That way, I’ll be all set with it if we get hit with bigtime inflation (or some other “garden variety” crisis) before next spring that might make acquiring the materials harder or more expensive. …(Sorry about the pun, I thought it and had to write it!:)
Nice thread! Absolutely yes, we are doing it this winter in Windsor, Ontario. Mostly it is a rehearsal to see what works and what does not, but I am really excited about it, have never considered it until recently. We are also trying out a greenhouse for the first time. We have a nice seed/plant exchange in our city, and I’ve been getting pointers from them, but am eager to hear back from you guys as well.
Can anyone advise me as to what vegetables grow best under limited sunlight conditions? Or is there any such thing?