It used to be that just the “strange” person you occasionally met was into healthy eating and organic vegetables, but how times have changed. These days, we all attempt to eat more healthily as it has been proven, together with regular exercise, to be one of the bets preventative measures against a whole range of sicknesses that we would rather avoid.
For those with their own garden, it has become quite common to start growing your own vegetables. This not only saves you money but it also ensures that you know what exactly what you are eating, gives you a sense of satisfaction and independence that you are growing your own food, and also saves you time doing the grocery shopping.
However, when the winter months come around, we tend to think that our vegetable garden will have to take a break until spring comes around. That need not be the case though.
Follow these 10 tips on how to grow vegetables in the winter and you can be eating your own, homegrown vegetables all year round:
1. Invest in a hot house or greenhouse. They are relatively inexpensive and are easy to assemble and take down. If you don’t want to invest in a greenhouse, try covering them with a sheet of poly ethylene plastic. This will keep in any heat and protect young vegetables. Just make sure to shake off any snow after a blizzard.
2. Plant hardy vegetables such as carrots, cauliflower, beets, Brussels sprouts, kale, collards, broccoli, white and red cabbage, and turnips.
3. Make sure that any rotten or dead stems and shrubbery are removed prior to the onset of winter so as to best protect new vegetables.
4. Fertilize a couple of months before the first frost. If you home compost - there are great plastic home composters available - you will always have a supply of fertilizer.
5. Use mulch to protect and insulate the soil from the cold.
6. Keep on mulching. As the cold gets colder, keep on adding mulch.
7. Harvest from the ends of your beds. Lift the plastic, pick what you need, and cover up again. The quicker, the better.
8. Plant your vegetables in raised beds. This protects from potential drainage problems caused by freezing. Keter has an attractive, easy to assemble raised garden bed that is perfect for winter.
9. The wind can cause just as much damage to your vegetables as the cold, so build a wind barrier to protect them.
10. Look after yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself and rug up from the cold, you won’t be in any condition to take care of your vegetables.