Normally when you see a garden in the winter, it is a dormant husk waiting to be rejuvenated by spring rains. But that does not have to be the case. Gardens are not necessarily restricted to just the spring and summer months. There are many plants that can be grown during the winter months with little to no protection. With careful selection, you can choose the right plants to fill that garden and make it bright, lively, and colorful. There are even some vegetables that do well during the colder months. It really just depends on what function you want your garden to provide. However, if you have never done any gardening during the winter, you may be at a loss. What should you plant in a winter garden? When is a good time to plant? Any avid gardener should know that with a little work and knowledge, you can have a garden that looks just as good in the winter as it does during the summer.
Advice On Winter Gardening
Taking care of a winter garden is just like taking care of a summer garden and by following our advice on winter gardening you should be successful. It isn’t hard to plant and maintain but climate is a factor. Plants tend to do better in a mild winter climate than severe. In fact, if you live anywhere there is snow on the ground 6 to 8 months out of the year, then a winter garden may prove more difficult. But there are several reasons to have a winter garden. If you are planting flowers and green plants, they can make your garden look much more appealing than having bare dirt and dried twigs. If you are planting vegetables, then it can give you variety and save you some money since vegetables are usually more expensive in the grocery stores during the off seasons.
There are some other reasons to have a winter garden. There are a lot less bugs and pests during the colder months. There is also plenty of rainfall in the winter so you don’t have to worry so much about watering your garden. You may not even need to water it at all.
When Is The Best Time To Plant?
All plants grow and mature at different rates. There are no die-hard rules for exactly when to plant for your winter garden. For a summer garden, you plant during the early spring. But if you want your plants to be ready for late fall and throughout winter, then you should plant in the early fall or even in late summer. By the time cold weather hits, you want your plants to be strong and healthy so they can survive the winter temperatures. Depending on your choice of garden, you can have flowers or vegetables in winter and early spring.
What Kinds Of Vegetables Do Well In Winter
Unless you have a heated greenhouse, you can’t grow vegetables like tomatoes, beans, or squash in the winter. But there are many others you can grow. Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Collards, Brussel Sprouts and Cauliflower are all members of the brassica family. They are easy to grow and all do very well in winter vegetable gardens. For the best time to plant them, you can plant them in July and harvest them in late fall or you can plant in September and harvest them in winter or early spring.
Some other easy vegetables to grow are garlic, leeks and other members of the onion family. They are a bit slow in growing so if you plant them in late summer, they will be ready the following June or July. You can also grow green onions which can be harvested in winter and early spring.
If you use a little protection, such as a cold frame, you can grow a variety of leafy green vegetables. These include lettuce, spinach, mustard greens, kale, and collard greens. The best time to plant these would be in September or October for winter and early spring harvest.
Beets and carrots are examples of root-type vegetables that can be planted in July and August for use in late fall, winter and early spring. Another vegetable is peas but they should be heavily mulched for better protection. You can plant peas during the summer and they will be ready for use in late fall. You can even try some fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary, and thyme.
What Kinds Of Plants And Flowers Do Well in Winter
There are actually a large number of flowering or green plants that do well throughout the winter months. One of the most popular is annuals.
You can plant a variety of annuals in late winter and early spring, depending on what area you live in. Some examples include foxglove, snapdragon, nasturtium, pansies, calendula, and sweet alyssum. Always be sure to ask your local nursery about specific plants or flowers. Some of them do better in milder climates than others.
Another good plant for winter gardens is aster. Asters can bloom well into the fall and early winter seasons, depending on the specific area. What is great about this plant is it produces a large group of colorful flowers that can really jazz up a drab winter spot. For some more colors, try the Azalea Girard Crimson which is a hardy shrub that grows around two to three feet high and provides beautiful fall and winter foliage.
Evergreens are a popular staple that are capable of surviving in multiple climates including winter. They get their name from the fact that their prickly leaves stay green year round. There are a number of evergreen vines that will provide your garden with a rich green color all year long. English ivy and wisteria are some good examples of winter-proof vines.
One of the best plants to add some color to a winter garden is the weeping winter jasmine which produces flowers from November to March. Its bright yellow flowers look great in the dull winter landscape and they will last well into April. Weeping winter jasmine looks best when draped along trailing wires or spilling across low walls and slopes. A really good selling point about weeping winter jasmine is that it is easy to maintain.