Greens that grow in winter unprotected

Awesome Homestead
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Greens that grow in winter unprotected

Unread post by Awesome Homestead » Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:36 pm

This fall I planted yellow heart bok choy from rare seeds it didnt do well do to an early first frost, or so I thought.

The weather dipped down to 0°f right after fall officially started and most nights have been at or just under freezing. At this point I expect everything to be pretty much dead.

A couple days ago I walked pit to the garden to help visualize where I'm going to put what plants this next season- as I'm rotating them this year- and I find 3 yellow heart bok choy plants growing EVEN IN THIS WINTER!

I was wondering what other plants can I start to get a winter salad from time to time- if anyone knows of any that can grow unprotected in the winter like this awesome plant, please reply. I really miss fresh vegetables and all my windows are already full of plants lol

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Farmfresh
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Re: Greens that grow in winter unprotected

Unread post by Farmfresh » Tue Jan 07, 2020 8:40 am

Actually there are several that grow well... even unprotected ... here and I am quite a bit north of you. Also, protection for winter plants does not have to be very drastic for success. Often just giving plants some wind protection is enough. Mulch is good protection as well, especially dry leaves. They are dark in color which soaks up a lot of solar heat on sunny days and have lots of air space for insulation.

Turnips will grow well with only a hint of "protection". Plant them on the south side of a structure and that will be plenty. Spinach, cabbage, kale, carrots, onions, leeks, collards, brussel sprouts and even carrots grow perfectly fine, but slowly all winter. (I am sure it is not the case, but I have often wondered if that is why some of those are called "Cole crops".) The problem at this point of the winter, is that most need a warmer spot to germinate. If you can germinate them inside in a little paper toilet roll or something and then move them out once established into a protected spot they should thrive. If possible I like to plant these crops in September. Some like the carrots, which don't like to be transplanted much, just need a few weeks of warmth to really get cranking. In my zone (5/6) if I mulch them well with some hay after they are established and you can harvest them all winter. Same with onions and leeks.

Garlic in Missouri actually REQUIRES growing over winter. Patrice is our resident garlic expert. She can tell you more about that crop.

Parsnips and Brussel spouts ... planted in September ... are two crops that NEED to freeze to improve the flavor. Brussel sprouts harvested in warm weather are a bit on the bitter side to me. After they experience a few hard frosts they turn nice and sweet. Remember too that many crops on this list are not just grown for the "normal" crop. Beets, turnips, radishes (grown in that window sill) and carrots all have EDIBLE greens. I prefer beet greens even to spinach if given a choice. (but beets are more troubled by the really cold cold.)

One year - back before I found out I am allergic to it - I also grew a fine crop of winter wheat in my garden. You prepare a bed just like grass seed and I got the wheat from a whole foods store where they grind it for fresh flour. It grew great. Growing a winter wheat crop could be a way to get wheat grass as a green in your diet over winter months. I grew mine on to harvest, but it would also make a wonderful green manure crop to be tilled under in the spring for fertility.

While we are talking winter greens... don't forget micro greens. Seeds like radish and others grow FAST and taste great as little baby plants. Also sprouts are a great winter nutrition source.

The real expert on growing in the dead of winter is Elliott Coleman. I read one of his books from the library years and years ago. He says that every cover on a plant is like moving further south. He often uses those floating row covers, but he is big into green houses as well.
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
"Stop Dreaming About the Good Life and Start Living IT !"
Every little bit ... is a little bit.

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Farmfresh
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Re: Greens that grow in winter unprotected

Unread post by Farmfresh » Tue Jan 07, 2020 8:40 am

Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
"Stop Dreaming About the Good Life and Start Living IT !"
Every little bit ... is a little bit.

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Farmfresh
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Re: Greens that grow in winter unprotected

Unread post by Farmfresh » Tue Jan 07, 2020 8:42 am

Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
"Stop Dreaming About the Good Life and Start Living IT !"
Every little bit ... is a little bit.

Biggkidd
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Re: Greens that grow in winter unprotected

Unread post by Biggkidd » Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:16 pm

Good topic and something ELSE I need to get busy on!

patriceinil
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Re: Greens that grow in winter unprotected

Unread post by patriceinil » Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:44 pm

Garlic needs to be planted in the Fall, September or October. You need a few weeks of warm weather to get it established before it turns really cold and the plants go dormant.

You also need to heavily mulch garlic to help keep the bulbs insulated from the cold in the winter and the heat in the summer.

Garlic needs nice loose soil that is well amended and that drains well. With the heavy clay you have, you might be better off growing it in a raised bed.

If you didn’t plant your garlic in the Fall, you can plant it in the Spring but it won’t grow as large.

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