It’s June and that means it’s time to think about your winter garden. Yes, that’s right: if you want to extend your vegetable harvest into the fall and even right through the winter, you need to start planning for it now.
The biggest mistake new gardeners make is not starting early enough. Come September or October, it’s too late to plant a winter garden. Some plants, like kale, leeks, mustards, carrots and beets, can be planted now for winter eating. Since you’ll will be eating these plants throughout the winter, they must be full size by Halloween, so make sure you plant your winter harvest garden no later than mid-August. July is even better.
Other vegetables planted now, such as certain varieties of onions, cauliflower and sprouting broccoli keep growing slowly throughout the winter and are ready to harvest early next spring when the warmer weather spurs new growth.
Arugula, beets, carrots, corn salad, cilantro, kale, Asian greens, parsley, green onions, parsnips, Swiss chard and turnips can be seeded now. Sprouting broccoli and other member of the cabbage family do better if you seed them now and let them grow a bit before planting into the garden in July or August.
A winter garden can be started in a section of your garden where spring and summer vegetables have finished. Just add a few handfuls of compost and organic fertilizer and it’s ready for new plants. Most nurseries will have winter vegetable starts to plant out in July and August, but it’s easy to grow your own if you start now. Dig This has a great selection of winter vegetable seeds.
With a little bit of planning, you can eat local right from your own garden all year long. If you need any advice, please talk to us at any Dig This store or attend a winter gardening workshop at Dig This Broadmead on Saturday, August 5th from 2 pm to 3:30 pm.
Please register in advance by calling 250 727 9922. Cost is $10. All participants will receive 15% off purchases made during the workshop and be eligible to win either a $50, $30 or $20 Gift Certificate.