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Grow a Winter Veggie Garden

Grow a Winter Veggie Garden

Posted by Michele Zagorski on 1st Sep 2016

Reposting in time for you to get your winter garden started...I haven't been able to garden yet this year, and probably won't have a winter garden, but wanted to share...

Do you love to garden like I do?  

Have you ever tried to extend your veggie garden right through the winter?  I'm giving it a go this year and you can, too!

We live in Southern Oregon, right next to California...in fact, one of our property lines is the Oregon/California border, and the first 15 feet or so of our driveway is in California! Our property is in the beautiful Colestin Valley.  It looks like this:

Anyways, we have relatively mild winters here, so a greenhouse isn't necessary to grow our veggies year round.  We will at some point need to cover the beds with plastic, though.

I can't grow my favorite veggie:tomatoes, or any other heat-loving veggies, but there are plenty of nutritious and delicious cold-hardy crops, and September happens to be the perfect month for planting!


I took a selfie with this beautiful heirloom Brandywine tomato because it was almost as big as my head!


Just clean out one of your veggie beds that is finishing up for the season, or use an empty one. We left two beds fallow for this purpose.  

Actually,  I just never got to planting them...OK, that's not totally true, either.  I planted them in the spring, but a naughty chicken snuck in and ate all my seedlings and dug holes in the bed.  I was too frustrated to think about doing it all over again, so I made lemonade out of lemons by deciding those beds would 'rest' for the summer and be perfectly ready for winter planting!  Worked for me. ;)

These are the yummy veggies we chose for our Winter Garden:

~chard

~kale

~mixed lettuces

~beets

~rutabaga (Who loves rutabaga...raise your hand!)

~radishes

~onions

By the way, if you plant only one thing in a winter garden, make it onions!  If you've never tasted the delicious sweetness and onionyness (I don't think that's a real word, but I'm running with it) of a homegrown onion, you must!  Plus, you don't have to do a thing with them except leave them in the ground all winter.  

If you're local, I have to mention the best veggie gardening book you will ever own: 

Garden Guide for the Rogue Valley 

written by Master Gardeners.

Garden Guide for the Rogue Valley

There's a section called Understanding Your Land with great advice on how to do things like composting and using cover crops, or where to locate your garden.

Another section on Deciding What to Grow covers warm and cool season crops, companion planting, crop rotation, and just about every other topic you'll need to be successful. 

(Yes, after planting this time, we fortified it like Fort Knox with bird netting and a perimeter chicken fence!)

But, my favorite section is the Calendar, with a guide for each month that tells you exactly what you need to do, step by step.  For instance, there are four pages for September on what to harvest, what to direct seed, what to transplant, and how to control pests and diseases that you may encounter that month.  In addition, it gives you information on each veggie and how to plant it.  It even lists the average minimum and maximum temps for the month and average precipitation!  It's all spelled out so simply that it's like the Southern Oregon 'Gardening For Dummies'!  It's got everything you need to know how to garden year round.

I got my book at a local Grange Co-op, but you can learn where to get a copy and check out some sample pages here.  

Even if you live in colder climates, it's still possible to have a winter veggie garden.  Check out this page at Mother Earth News for tips on gardening in your zone.

I have to say, it's so fun to think about eating a salad, or picking some kale to throw in the blender for a smoothie in November from my garden!

So, are you going to give it a try?  Let me know how it goes!

Happy gardening!

XOXO

-Michele