Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


Posts Tagged ‘winter garden’

Reasons for a Winter Vegetable Garden

Fava Blooms

Fava Blooms

Anita is teaching a class at Heather Farms about planting a winter vegetable garden and as part of the prep she asked me for a list of reasons to have a winter veggie garden. She’ll probably do the Socratic thing and get the class to come up with its own list, but I thought I’d post my list and see if anyone had other things to add. The winter veggie garden for us is loosely defined as the Oct/Nov planting and the Feb/March planting times with harvests starting in February and lasting into the summer or beyond.

  1. Favas!!!!
  2. The winter garden requires less time and effort than the summer garden — less watering, fewer pests (more slugs and snails, but fewer leaf miners, cabbage loopers, and marauding baby skunks), less staking & pruning? (peas need training and favas need some kind of support, but that’s compared to beans, tomatoes), onions and garlic and many other cool-season crops are ridiculously easy
  3. A few of those winter crops are specialty items — Favas turn starchy by the time they make it into stores, Mache (corn salad) can cost as much as $3/oz, I never buy Garlic Greens or Shallots but love them from the garden, you can never use a whole clump of store bought Parsley, Collards and other greens taste best with a touch of frost in them, I’m trying to think of other highlights of the winter garden?
  4. It makes for healthy soil and insect populations — nitrogen-fixing cover crops are fundamental, the winter garden provides food for the microbes and insects to keep those populations high, living mulch protects the soil from rain
  5. It looks better — it avoids that bare, bleak, abandoned look that a veggie garden can get
  6. Favas!!!!
  7. It’s productive —┬áit takes advantage of our mediterranean coastal climate, we always get a warm spell in January, and February and March often alternate rain with sunshine in a way that many plants like, productivity is measured in bushels per acre, so get bushelling
  8. Fog belt tomatoes may be lousy but the early spring greens are world class
  9. You don’t stop eating food in the winter, so why would you stop growing it?
  10. It’s the easiest time to plant other perennials so why not edible perennials — strawberries and artichokes do best with late October planting, bareroot blueberries are available in February
  11. Have you seen the price of arugula at Whole Foods lately?
  12. It gives you something to blog about
  13. Snap Peas!!!!
  14. All the cool organic farms are doing it
  15. Did I mention Favas?
  16. Satisfaction — you have to temper your expectations, some things will fail, but it is conversely immensely satisfying to eat a home grown meal in early February

Also, I just think it’s good form. Please comment if you have other reasons that I didn’t think of.