At this time of year, the growth in the vegetable garden finally stagnates. At least here, it is not very cold, but the lack of light and moist soil cannot provide the best growth conditions. The shortest day of the year is coming, and the few crops left in the field are the most hardy. Sugarbeets, collards, leeks, a few messy sprouted broccoli and shivering winter salad will provide frugal picking between now and spring. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.
Here are five ways to make your winter backbone play its best
- Make full use of available light
The level of light in the middle of winter, especially in a cloudy climate like mine, can be depressing. This is enough to make you feel bad weather, but please think about our struggling plants!
A simple way to make full use of the light there is to leave more space between plants than usual. More space means better light penetration to the leaves. For most clotted salads, this means leaving about 25 centimeters (9 inches) in both directions between the plants. This is too much in the growing season, but it gives plants a greater chance to seize some precious sunshine and should have an impact on how many leaves you will pick.
- Less water
If you grow up in a mild marine climate like mine, you may not have watered outside since early autumn - you don't need watering until spring! But in warmer areas, watering continues. It is important to find a balance between keeping plants quenched and not allowing them to stand for long periods in wet conditions.
In a hoop house or greenhouse without heating, when the temperature is extremely low and the sun really doesn't have that much, you may only water it once every two to three weeks. Allow the soil to dry between watering to minimize the risk of mold, mildew, and aggressive mollusks, slugs, and snails. Then, as the days begin to get longer and the temperature becomes significantly cooler, you can draw water according to the mitigation conditions.
- Support wind blowing brassica
Winter storms can cause serious damage to Brassica plants that have suffered for a long time, such as kale and Brussels sprouts. Weather beaten and blown by the wind, the tallest plant will benefit from a little extra support.
Pile soil around the base of the stem to fix the swaying plant in place. A top heavy specimen may benefit from being strapped to a sturdy bamboo stick or stake and pushed deep enough into the ground to maintain its rigidity. Use soft garden twine or raffia to reduce friction.
Brassica plants are particularly vulnerable to pigeons in winter - who can blame them when food is so scarce on the ground? You can tolerate a little damage to let our feather friends move on, but if the damage is too serious, please remember that simply covering plants with mesh or net will keep them away.
- Protect plants from cold
Surprisingly, a little crop protection can make a big difference. Solid structures such as tunnels or greenhouses extend the growing season by two months or more. By capturing more sun warmth for a longer time, the outdoor mild days become warm days, greatly accelerating the frequency of growth and harvest.
External crops can also be coaxed into action. The garden wool row covers will not last long enough heat. They will become wet and heavy, fixing the crops on the ground and keeping them cool. The low tunnel of transparent polyethylene will help to keep many different vegetables ticking, including green leafy vegetables such as overwintering onions and spinach, and the main crops waiting to be harvested, carrots and beets.
Or put the cold frame on salad such as lamb lettuce (March or corn salad) or cold resistant herbs such as coriander or parsley. Barbara Pleasant suggested throwing blankets on tunnels and frames on the coldest nights to prevent plants from freezing to death. The lid also helps to protect the plant from the eating of wells such as deer and rabbits.
- Be patient
Many vegetables stop growing completely in winter, there is nothing you can do about it. Sugar beet is one of the most cold resistant staple foods. It was closed for two months after the last few leaves in early winter, and only the first tender leaf of this season was introduced when the bulb blossomed in the earliest spring.
Wait patiently for the first fresh leaf of the year to build expectations. It is a soothing antidote to instant gratification that we expect in modern life. Then when they arrived, it was really a happy moment! Although it's good to keep the party going longer, sometimes taking a break helps us appreciate the value we have. The long-awaited picking is one of the simple pleasures in life.