DON’T HATE ME! I know, it sounds like the meanest ploy to ruin your summer bliss. “Oh hey, I know it’s Saturday evening, but I’m Monday. You should take a cold shower, throw on some Sarah McLaughlan and lie in bed staring at the ceiling thinking about me for a few hours.”
But no, I’m not saying actually think about the winter. But preparing for it is good. Winter IS coming, and with it comes cozy days reading books, making a mess crafting in the living room and attacking all those projects that summer day adventures simply wouldn’t allow you to devote any energy to. Also, winter comes with cold, layers, short days and a lack of fresh fruits and vegetables. That’s why we plan. That’s why we can!
If you’re already growing a food garden this season, you’re likely in a time of excessive bounty for one crop or another. Now is the time to think about canning your excess and planning for winter crops that are going to replace the space of your tomatoes and peppers when they’re done.
August is the time to plant radishes, beets for greens, winter broccoli and cauliflower, carrots, kale, collards and swiss chard. Also, did you think you had to BUY lettuce for healthy salads in the winter? Engh!!! WRONG! If you have a balcony or small yard with a little greenhouse, coldframe or hoop house, you can grow lettuce and salad greens all year round.
But don’t let the hot hot heat and beach bods distract you from taking a day to get prepped. Choose an overcast day if you can get one and plan out your winter garden. If you can get your hands on a greenhouse, you can sow lettuce, endive, mustards, corn salad, spinach and other leafy greens every two weeks for the entire winter.
The best part about winter? You can still juice from your yard! And here’s the zany plus about that - greens taste better in the cold months. Winter lettuces have this crazy science-type reaction to the cold where they store up all their sugars into a tight little bundle of goodness. This “science” means that veggies and greens in the winter are sweeter, crunchier and all over tastier than in the summer. Say WHAT?!
So in closing, don’t be sad that summer isn’t going to last forever. Its not all that bad. Get yourself a winter plan and start amending, sowing and transplanting now.
For a great winter food gardening resource, check the westcoastseeds.com winter planning guide and catalogue. There’s a graph and pictures, which we like.
Winter is coming.