Do you wish to get more from your garden by growing food into the fall and winter months?
Depending on what crops you’re growing you’ll be sowing your fall and winter crops in early to late summer.
There are a few things to consider when planning and planting your fall and winter garden which I’ll discuss in this post. We’ll go into crop selection, season extenders and timing.
Some things that make fall and winter gardening a success are:
- Knowing what your growing zone (click here for Canada) and weather is like during these months.
- Your average first fall frost dates.
- What season extenders you’re planning on using (if any, warmer climates can get away without them).
- Choosing the right crops that can handle frosts and snow.
- Succession sowing to get the right timing.
- Learning what your Persephone days will increase your success.
Planning your Fall & Winter Garden
I’ve found some invaluable resources for planning and planting our fall and winter gardens, some of them are books, others are free resources provided by my favorite seed company. Be sure to check out these great posts too:
Niki Jabbour’s book ‘The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year No Matter Where You Live’ (affiliate link).
West Coast Seeds has an amazing FREE planting chart.
The one below is for our area but they have many areas in both U.S & Canada
Eliot Coleman has fantastic books for year-round growing (get the books here– affiliate link)
Choosing the Right Crops
Choosing the right crops is essential when growing a fall and winter garden. You need to make sure that you’re selecting crops that are cold hardy as well as varieties that have better cold tolerance.
Before & after heavy frosts: ‘January King’ Heirloom Cabbage
Many crops thrive in cooler weather and some are frost tolerant. Other crops can handle light or even hard freezes and with the added protection of season extenders can be harvested during the winter months.
Leeks and root crops benefit from being mulched with straw during the colder months. Remember the lower to the ground the crops are the less exposed to the elements they’ll be: for example shorter baby leaf kale versus the taller ones. There are certain varieties for each crop that will have better frost tolerance too. For example ‘Winter Density’ lettuce is a romaine lettuce meant for colder temperatures whereas many of the other varieties aren’t suited for your fall and winter garden.
In general baby leaves that are younger and low to the ground handle cold temperatures better than older crops. That’s why succession sowing is so important when growing in the cold months.
Many fall and winter crops ‘rebound’ after thawing out from freezes.
Using Season Extenders
Here’s some info on building & using season extenders:
- How to Build a Low Tunnel
- Benefits of Using Row Covers
- Use a Polytunnel to Extend the Growing Season
- 14 Ways to Extend Your Growing Season
- Use a Polytunnel to Extend Your Growing Season
- Is Plastic Necessary? Success with Fabric Row Covers
- How to Build a Small Polytunnel
- How to Build a Polytunnel Greenhouse
- Year-Round Veggie Gardener
- Clever Cloches
- Garden with Cold Frames to Grow More Food
- Cold Frame Gardening
- How to Start Seedlings in a Cold Frame
- The Benefits or Row Covers
I hope this information helps you grow more food year-round. Adding extra months to your gardening season reduces your grocery bills by increasing your produce window. It’s definitely worth the time to learn 🙂