Winter Garden Tips For Everywhere

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Not all of us live next door to each other. Ours garden in Michigan and Texas are different and should be treated differently, especially during the winters. We can all grow winter vegetable gardens; it just will take a little more work and care in the lower growing zones.

In some areas, it would require a greenhouse or garden tunnels. In the warmer areas winter is the most abundant time of the year to garden.

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Photo by: Rosie Rosenberger

Winter Gardening Tips For Zone 3

 

  • The covering/protection that seem to work best in this zone are: Covered: cold frames, greenhouses and even inside. Outside: Hay or straw, leaves, mulch and the thicker the better.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/axelkr/2323845762/in/photolist-7B6WJ3-bsLrP6-qVe3DX-qV59cz-qCEQx7-p4Vvwi-vSJ7iC-4kxNKp-qK7roG-946yAe-7F86n-zMpLQ-hSEUN4-DX92Bk-qt8iXV-etyHAg-qt1T3Y-aZjgHV-m363FJ-D3ZDU8-iwYcT6-bBCszj-777FW7-CF4r8H-2jVViH-dXDoqh-Eav8Ls-9i7rec-7zHaJx-99wVeh-nvfEzS-4hMtzB-PrNFu-EDDHUT-DZ7MEk-963gxN-5mLMVw-bRA2yR-9eBkHr-777CUh-8Vnje-CUoo4F-4xmjof-qs3oPP-pXouVk-A7Tp3-nxbRrr-qHhxkG-6emkJ-qHhyeW/
Photo by: Axel Kristinsson
  • Sow some plants in the fall so they have a head start in the spring.

  • Timing can be everything in the north, watch the weather for snow and freeze.

  • Try different items and see how they work, then plan next year from the results.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/14903992@N08/15723002693/in/photolist-7B6WJ3-bsLrP6-qVe3DX-qV59cz-qCEQx7-p4Vvwi-vSJ7iC-4kxNKp-qK7roG-946yAe-7F86n-zMpLQ-hSEUN4-DX92Bk-qt8iXV-etyHAg-qt1T3Y-aZjgHV-m363FJ-D3ZDU8-iwYcT6-bBCszj-777FW7-CF4r8H-2jVViH-dXDoqh-Eav8Ls-9i7rec-7zHaJx-99wVeh-nvfEzS-4hMtzB-PrNFu-EDDHUT-DZ7MEk-963gxN-5mLMVw-bRA2yR-9eBkHr-777CUh-8Vnje-CUoo4F-4xmjof-qs3oPP-pXouVk-A7Tp3-nxbRrr-qHhxkG-6emkJ-qHhyeW/
Photo by: scrappy annie
  • Start in November while there is still a bit of warmth and sunshine to give plants a start before the darker months coming.

 

Winter Gardening Tips For Zone 4

 

  • Winter coverings in zone 4 that seem to work the best are hay, leaves, mulch.

  • Use of unheated greenhouses or cold frames with extra cloth coverings when temperatures drop below freezing seem to be favorites.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mshugart/11213912004/in/photolist-i5Wemq-dQFnST-eyMY8-bvfax6-jJu6Zi-B9PFs-e4b9Np-qHWV9H-brfyLy-7yJwR4-qBYiTs-put3xh-bpAkF7-bpucun-dCJqRg-ihcggx-tfEC2-Hyha3h-bv7qsr-e7arfG-dNyWbJ-dag8st-4qRRyR-6iw2wb-qSCkqh-dF4SMG-2FJfcv-eibb8b-iHU1Sb-9azk1M-6y75P-5AVLXh-boKRfQ-bwqPeu-4GKCxC-7TsnkZ-6GHzyj-dNkYqm-6pTkKL-7iTZ2H-v5yfp-9uPcXt-5QHwya-byedQ3-qKSdY1-eagVB1-bx8rJJ-9BYHeM-rg85YQ-4nYSP7
Photo by: Matthew Shugart
  • Whatever method we use make sure to keep the snow from getting to heavy on top and blocking what sunlight is available on clear days.

  • Over winter we may want to plant in the late fall and cover through the winter to allow a head start in the spring.

  • Greens will appear troubled during the dead of winter but do wonderful at the first hints of spring.

  • A fresh supply of vegetable over winter can be had by using sunny windows inside and supplementing with fluorescent lights.

  • There are many tips on starting the winter garden but most success are by trial and error with the timing.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/32006501@N04/8291953369/in/photolist-dCJqRg-ihcggx-tfEC2-Hyha3h-bv7qsr-e7arfG-dNyWbJ-dag8st-4qRRyR-6iw2wb-qSCkqh-dF4SMG-2FJfcv-eibb8b-iHU1Sb-9azk1M-6y75P-5AVLXh-boKRfQ-bwqPeu-4GKCxC-7TsnkZ-6GHzyj-dNkYqm-6pTkKL-7iTZ2H-v5yfp-9uPcXt-5QHwya-byedQ3-qKSdY1-eagVB1-bx8rJJ-9BYHeM-rg85YQ-4nYSP7-8NpRE5-8TG6GW-9q2v1W-oAYg7D-qtbP6h-9vCye4-64omGb-nx5yUq-6awyL8-6j9pPg-iU9Att-mUGxQL-qAFZh2-7TAm4T
Photo by: Dawn
  • Start plants every two weeks in early fall to find out the right timing. If the plants fail, try again in last winter when the days start getting longer.

  • Many plants fail due to low light and not the cold temperatures. Start everything inside.

  • Keep records and consult them each year when planning the winter garden.

 

Winter Gardening Tips For Zone 5

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bug_girl/6311972988/in/photolist-aBLvEu-bR3Mar-e4NcK8-fgo5ub-e4TMW3-9p6Ugj-e4TMc1-6dk4La-8GDwJr-e4N9En-6dpcAd-e4TMJ1-cNV6xh-9k3mLN-HnPjLF-dNdpAr-daGSmH-5Rxhzr-b6nVNP-bwzXTg-81VZmX-aEFjx-6dpcPW-81VZMB-eqWBo3-3QuAuu-qfaSi-pGEZdR-5tLX3L-5tGzBV-7RMJ93-bMngSX-e4TKts-xPeDV-e4TNDj-7rEE2V-ojceQ9-GypJxk-re6YHu-cNV8RA-brF5WX-98erp6-aFE3ZV-592PCW-pzd4uk-duDUJG-5R1Dki-e973vp-bysix3-afpUUN
Photo by: Gwen Pearson
  • Raised store beds will retain the heat of the day for the cold nights.

  • Cold frames, greenhouses, hoop houses are favorites in zone 5.

  • Use of poly to cover plants in very cold weather, even under other covers may want to be considered.

  • Vegetables that develop underground (carrots, radishes, beats) do very well into January and February as long as we can keep the cold off of them.

  • Spinach, greens and lettuces are available year around if covered and mulched over winter.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/5187614927/in/photolist-8UpTbF-av3k5Z-7ayNeP-r2KFE6-8UpT9T-nn7U8i-hCwEkt-5XYQ1c-5XLENd-8YVbXP-zh8bq-a5HFkA-bysztb-59E8Vx-f9XR8d-roRqUh-aXWVDT-9p3W8i-egRmSp-8PUXUv-5asfgG-4sUB1n-6aBzZK-aaBWHB-8YVbZa-LhoPT-7jygSB-H4Acfb-dyPmtW-c2ysQu-7jCaQy-4bYERV-f9HBcV-e72DPX-f9HzdD-9XpQHh-eRMdSj-92JdV2-7RJvoB-qjjM7k-eQddrt-2358BE-8oRn7e-7ZBgFK-aabDyq-5hwXuq-3KDUrE-e973xD-ndvWkA-itgLo4
Photo by: U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Make sure the plants get the moisture they need and vent the air on nice days.

  • Plant sooner than later. If we plant later then the plants will be to small that we do not really get a harvest until early spring.

  • Multiple plantings two week apart will give us the right planting timing and keep good records.

  • Ensure the plants are almost fully grown when the first hard freeze hits.

 

 

We will continue with the other zones in another article in the next few days.

These tips will help provide greens and vegetable nearly year around in most zones.

 

 

 

-My Yard Garden

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