by Charlene Burgi
| Winter crop seeds
There is something inherently wrong with that title. The month just ended saw temperatures far greater than what most consider comfortable living. Summer crops are just beginning to bear a healthy quantity requiring canning or freezing, and the title of the blog is discussing winter?
Every year seems to slip by without starting winter crop seeds on time for the very reasons mentioned above: The weather is warm and we're busy harvesting summer fruits and vegetables. Add to the mix a vacation or two, and before we know it we're well into fall. This year is no exception, except a special tickler file promptly advised me to get the winter seeds started on time. Since I will be fishing in the wilds of British Columbia as you are reading this, I added a tickler file to the tickler file that this project must be done upon my return from the northern high country.
You might ask, Why bother with a winter garden? Winter crops are a great source for the makings of soups and stews that typically warm our souls when the winds are blowing and rains soak us to the bone. Winter vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower tend to bolt to seed in our hot summer weather, but they can withstand our cool temperatures. Lettuce, spinach, radishes, and carrots are also easy to grow during the winter as well as beets, Brussels sprouts, and Swiss chard. Garlic and onions can also be started now for spring harvest!
One of the challenges of starting winter seeds now is they will need to be planted in the ground before our summer crops are exhausted. Some summer vegetables may need to vacate their beds sooner than our frost dates demand, but with careful planning we can work it out. For example, once harvested corn is complete, thus leaving that space open for additional plantings. The same holds true for root crops such as potatoes, beets, carrots, and radishes. These beds can be amended with a good organic compost and manure and be at the ready for winter crops.
Winter gardens in the dog days of summer? Let this be your tickler file to add one more thing to your garden list of things to do! This winter as you sup on a steaming dish, you will be thankful you made the effort to plant winter crops.