Saturday, December 3, 2016

Winter Garden, What Is Growing? (2016)

A laundry basket full picked yesterday from the garden

It is December 3rd and I have picked the above vegetables this week. I find it amazing that anything will grow in this season. Not only do they grow, but they thrive and all I have done so far is plant seeds at the right time that like cool or cold weather. In a few weeks I will put up my hoop houses but for right now, everything is out in the open. Even if I don't put up the hoop houses, the harvest so far has been good, even with the drought and armadillos.

My focus right now is to harvest the vegetables that will not survive the bitter cold weather. In the above basket is: Bekana, winter radishes, Canton bok choi, ching chang bok choi and broadleaf mustard. The mustard will survive deep into the winter but I have way more than I can use. This basket was a gift for some friends since I have extra and can share.

The following is a partial list of a few of the vegetables I have grown in cool weather or during the bitter cold in my winter garden.

Winter Vegetables
Broccoli
Rapini, Broccoli Raab
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbages (There are so many kinds) Chinese, Drumhead, Savoy, Copenhagen, Tronchunda, Napa, Savoy
Cauliflower
Celery (Afina Cutting)
Chamomile
Chinese Vegetables, Bok Choi, Bekana, Komatsuna, Mizuna, Mibuna, Tatsoi, Vitamin Green, Kaisin fluffy top, Yad fah
Chives
Cilantro (this is the first time to try growing this in the winter)
Collard
Kale
Lettuce (Winter Density, Buttercrunch, Bronze Arrow)
Miner's Lettuce, Claytonia
Mustard
Parsley
Parsnip
Spinach
Swiss Chard

Root Crops
Beets
Burdock Root
Carrots
Garlic
Kohlrabi
Leeks
Onions
Radish
Shallots
Turnips

Beans/Peas
English Peas, Sugar Snap
Snow Peas, Oregon Sugar Pod
Fava Beans
Austrian Winter Peas (This year is the first time to grow this)

Below is a small list of things I haven't tried yet, or don't want to try...like horseradish. Who would want to grow that?

Arugula
Bulb Fennel
Celeriac
Celtuce
Corn Salad, Mache (never been able to get the seeds to germinate)
Endive
Lambs' Lettuce
Radicchio
Rutabaga
Salad Burnet
Salsify
Sorrel
Winter Cress

During the spring I notice many neighbors planting their vegetable gardens. By August, most are finished for the year and the ground will be turned under and left, forgotten until the following year. What a waste. With my garden, August is the beginning of the winter garden. I don't start seeds in the ground because the temperature of the ground will be too high and I must wait for spring plants to be harvested. Instead, I first plant the seeds in newspaper cups I have made myself, and sit them outside in short cardboard boxes with the bottoms lined with trash bags. Then in September, I begin planting the seedlings and seeds in the ground so that by October and November, the plants will be established enough to last through the winter. It is a slow steady year-round process. As one area finishes producing, I begin planting something else. Look outside - wherever there is dirt exposed, it will eventually be covered by weeds. The purpose of the dirt in my yard is to feed  me and my family. It is to grow FOOD!

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