Many people mistakenly believe that gardening stops when that first frost hits. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you play your cards right, you can have survival food growing all winter long (at least during the milder months).
Now keep in mind that not every plant is built to withstand the harshest seasons. Most can thrive during mild winters, but die when it gets too cold. So it’s important to judge when to harvest the plants before they die off.
Also, keep in mind if you want these veggies in the wintertime, you’ll need to sow them in the fall (so…right now). This process also does take some planning, and sometimes a good amount of maintenance.
However, with patience and consistency you’ll be able to reap the rewards of healthy, delicious food all season long! After you read this, you’ll want to go out and buy the seeds for these…
7 Winter Survival Foods You Can Grow In Your Garden
Cold Weather Gardening Basics
There’s a few things you need to know to help your wintertime gardening become a success. These include…
- Place the plants in a location where they get as much sun as possible. They should also have protection from the wind. This is usually on the south side of your home.
- Plant the veggies in a raised gardening bed, since these tend to keep the soil warmer. If you don’t have a raised bed, you can always put some tires in the yard and fill them with soil. The rubber will absorb the sun’s heat and keeps your plants warm.
- Cover your plants with fleece frost covers. These will go over and around the plants, helping lock in heat.
There are at least 3 different types of onions you can harvest during the cold winter months. These include yellow, white and red onions. These are all ideal, since they have a long shelf-life after picking, and can be used in a vast assortment of dishes.
You can also use shallots and leeks – both are cold-hardy and offer similar nutritional benefits.
There’s a reason this specific type of lettuce got its name – it’s cold-hardy and can withstand low temperatures.
However, much like any other plant, it needs a bit of maintenance to help it thrive. Use frost covers to help insulate the lettuce unless your region has milder winters.
This is an example of a veggie that does best in mild winters (but can’t withstand harsh, freezing temperatures). By using frost covers, you increase their chances of survival even if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Since winter weather can often be unpredictable, it’s important to err on the side of caution. Plant your peas relatively close together so that you can have more space to grow as much as possible. If some die off, this will help you recoup your losses.
Asparagus is one of those magical vegetables where you plant it once, and it keeps coming back year after year.
However, the downside is you won’t be able to eat it for the first few years. So if you plant it now, you’ll be able to reap the harvest in about three years.
Sure, this is kind of annoying. But if you plan ahead and sow the seeds now, you’ll be sitting pretty a few winters from now with bushels of mouthwatering asparagus.
Garlic is probably one of the most versatile ingredients in the world. Whether you’re tossing them in soups, over meat, on top of veggies, etc. it’s delicious in practically every recipe.
And this is a really awesome thing considering garlic is really easy to grow – especially in the winter months. Simply plant each individual clove relatively far apart, at about 2 inches deep.
Garlic is also super easy to maintain, and requires very little work. And considering how tasty it is, it’s a no-brainer for winter gardening.
Few people know that every single part of the turnip plant is edible – from the roots to the greens. And considering that they’re tasty and fairly versatile, these are great vegetables for harvesting in the cold winter months.
It’s important to remember that turnips do well in mild winters, but not in harsh temperatures. For instance, they withstand frost well, and you don’t need to harvest them until the ground freezes over.
Just make sure to plant them in a raised bed, and to use frost covers. Otherwise, they may not survive due to lack of heat retention.
If you’re about to experience a harsh winter, it’s a good idea to harvest early and store turnips through the winter months. They have a long shelf-life, so there’s not many downsides to digging them up early.
Carrots are arguably one of the easiest veggies to grow. All they need is some loose soil without any stones. The temperature should also stay over 45°F at all times. You can accomplish this last part by using raised beds and frost covers.
Good news! Carrots become sweeter in taste as the weather gets colder. In fact, some gardeners intentionally keep their carrots in the ground for longer periods of time, just to get that sweet flavor.
Keep in mind these are just a few of the many vegetables you can grow during the winter months. Do some research and learn all about the other varieties that can help you stay well-fed this winter!