8 Hardy Vegetables You Can Leave In The Ground During Winter For A Super-Early 2017 Harvest

8 Hardy Vegetables You Can Leave In The Ground For Winter For An Early 2017 Harvest

It may seem like not much happens in the garden during September, and that spring is the only acceptable time to plant a crop of vegetables.

And while it’s true that plants don’t grow when winter sets in, there are a surprising number of vegetables you can plant in autumn – and that will be ready for spring. The plants lie dormant during the winter months, spring back to life when temperatures begin to rise in March or April, and are ready to harvest soon thereafter.

Straw or mulch provide good protection for overwintering vegetables in most climates. Some vegetables may need a little protection in the form of row covers or cold frames if you live in a cold climate. One simple way to protect plants is to arrange bales of hay on each side of the rows, and then cover the bales with old windows. You can also use clear plastic anchored with rocks or stakes.

Here’s a list of vegetables appropriate for planting in autumn. Some are old favorites, while others may surprise you.

1. Onions – Plant onions now, in September, and then leave them alone until they’re ready for harvest next summer. Onions grow nearly anywhere, but they may not do well if your garden remains soggy during the winter months. Alternatively, you can always plant onions in raised beds.

8 Hardy Vegetables You Can Leave In The Ground For Winter For An Early 2017 Harvest

2. Shallots – Fall is a good time to get shallots in the ground, but there’s no hurry. It’s possible to plant this popular culinary vegetable as late as December, depending on where you live.

3. Garlic – Plant garlic cloves in the garden around September and harvest them next summer. Fall is actually the best time to plant garlic, as the cloves need several weeks of cold in order to multiply. Also, garlic planted in autumn tends to be larger and more flavorful.

4. Spinach – Plant spinach in autumn and harvest the leaves regularly throughout the winter, until next summer. Spinach is a cold-weather crop, and planting after summer heat eliminates the need to worry about bolting.

5. Broad beans – Varieties such as “super aquadulce” or “aquadulce claudia” are good for planting as late as October or early November. As an added benefit, beans work as a cover crop by preventing erosion and nourishing the soil. You may need to stake the plants to keep them upright if winter winds are common.

6. Chard – This nourishing leafy vegetable survives winter in great shape in most climates, and is the first green ready for picking in spring. In fact, chard tolerates temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit without protection and cold actually brings out the natural sweetness. But if you have seriously cold winters, you may need to protect chard with row covers or a cold frame.

7. Peas – Select a cold-hardy, early variety like meteor or kelvedon wonder. Plant the rows thickly, a little closer than usual to allow for the few that you’ll probably lose. Peas may be chancy if you live north of USDA zone 5 or south of zone 8.

8. Mache – If you haven’t tried mache, you’re likely to love the mild, nutty flavor of this cold-hardy solid green. Mache survives winters in USDA zone 6 with no protection, but may need a little protection in northern climates.

Guaranteed way to never start your fall garden

This past week, my sister, brother-in-law, and their six children came up from Alabama for a visit.  It’s always a great time, filled with lots of laughter!  When we all get together, there are 15 cousins ranging from 15 years old to 7 months!

Of the five of us siblings who are married, everyone has young kids and life is full throttle.  One thing we all share is that there never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything we want to accomplished!

And thus is life!  No matter what stage of life you may be in, life seems to come and go faster and faster every year.

When I asked my sister who lives in Alabama if they were going to put in a fall garden, she looked at me with almost crazy eyes.  Balancing 6 kids homeschooling work, co-op classes, and all the extra-curricular activities they were involved in was more than a full time job!

She said she wanted to but just didn’t know if they would have time.  This kind of stinking-thinking, I told her, would guarantee her from never starting a fall garden!  (Time is the number one excuse people use for not gardening!)  There’s never enough time unless you make something a priority!  And she agreed.

In reality, between her, her husband and their 6 kids, all helping out, it really wouldn’t require all that much time or work.  (Grandma always said, “Many hands make light work.”)  Plus, why not turn it into something fun?  Maybe the boys could weed one night, girls could water the next, etc. I suggested.

Her next hesitation was she really didn’t know what to grow and didn’t have the time to search hundreds of varieties of seeds for fall planting.  I smiled and said don’t worry, I have just the thing.

I told her about the Fall Garden Kit because we designed it specifically with people like her in mind.  She didn’t have to think about what to plant, it was all covered in the kit.  The Fall Garden Kit would give her 13 varieties that she could plant.  If she didn’t’ want to plant all 13 varieties this year, she could try half this year and save the rest for next year.

By this time, her crazy eyes had diminished and there was a flicker of excitement as she asked if she could get the kit before they left to head back down south.

Like my sister, if you are crazy busy but desire to put in a fall garden, there’s still time before it is too late!  Our Fall Garden Kit is a great, easy, way to guarantee you WILL have a fall garden!

Click here to order your Fall Garden Kit today.

Fall & Winter Gardening: What You Should Be Doing NOW

Summer gardening season is quickly coming to an end, with fall approaching and winter just around the corner.

Although some gardeners put their tools away for the season during August or September, others keep planting throughout autumn – preparing for a winter harvest.

On this week’s edition of Off The Grid Radio we discuss everything you’ve always wanted to know about fall and winter gardening … but perhaps were too embarrassed to ask.

Our guest is Brad Halm, the co-founder of The Seattle Urban Farm Company and the co-author of two gardening books: High-Yield Vegetable Gardening and Food Grown Right, In Your Backyard.

Brad tells us:

  • What you should plant during the fall — and when.
  • How you can plant carrots and overwinter them for an early spring harvest.
  • Which frost-tolerant vegetables can survive cold temperatures, uncovered, down into the 20s.
  • What you can do now to keep harvesting vegetables outdoors, well into January and February.
  • Why fall and winter gardening sometimes producers better-tasting vegetables.

Finally, Brad tells us four unique ways you can garden outside throughout winter – allowing you to enjoy fresh spring vegetables when snow is still on the ground. If you’ve never tried fall and winter gardening, but have always wanted to give it a try, then this week’s show is for you!

Click here to listen to this week’s interview.

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