|Those blue clips are for holding the row cover (seen folded against the window) in place when temps are below freezing|
Lately I have been hearing two questions asked A LOT: "Can I have a veggie garden to pick fresh veggies from in the winter?" And also, "Can I grow veggies in pots, because I don't have space for a veggie patch in the yard" or "because the only sun I have is on my deck or near the sidewalk".
Of course, the answer to both those questions here in Zone 7B is YES! You CAN pick veggies fresh from your garden EVEN IN THE WINTER, and you can grow fresh veggies to nourish yourself and your family IN POTS -- just like flowers!
|A pot of "stir fry mix"|
Here in Chickadee Garden I have food plants growing both in pots and in the vegetable garden soil itself. Because of shortened days, veggies that produce leaves to eat are the most productive -- even more productive than in the summer because those leafy veggies do not like our scorching summer temperatures and prefer cooler days and nights.
Some examples that grow quite well in my garden are: Swiss Chard, Lettuce (I prefer loose leaf varieties over head lettuce, because they keep on producing after you harvest leaves, so you can get several harvests from each plant), Kale, Collards, Mustard, Turnips, Beets, and Sorrel.
|Swiss chard grown from seed sown directly in the pot in mid September|
One doesn't even need to cover these crops if the temperature isn't going very much below freezing. For a cover, I have some yardage of "garden quilt", which lets in moisture and light. But I also use old shower curtain liners and cheap vinyl tablecloths over some of my pots to protect the plants from low temperatures.
|Kale in its SECOND year! growing in a repurposed recycling bin|
|Kale and collards, and some late carrots in the open garden|
In addition, Broccoli will do quite well, and late sown Carrots will winter in the ground and then bulk up in the very early spring.
I have a number of herbs that do very well in the winter garden with minimal or no protection from freezing temperatures: Parsley, Rosemary, Chives, Fennel and Oregano can be harvested through out the winter. I keep them in the open herb garden, as well as have duplicate plants in pots that I group near our back door, making it easy to harvest in cold and wet winter weather and easy to throw a covering on if we have some days and nights of extreme cold.
|Rosemary and chives, and parsley growing to the left in my cinder block raised bed|
I even picked fresh tomatoes a week ago from a Roma Tomato plant that I had growing in a pot. I had moved it several weeks ago to a spot against the south facing side of the house where it received maximum sun and warmth from the bricks of the house. One key to continuing to maintain production from sun loving summer veggies, like tomatoes, peppers, or eggplants, as well as an advantage of them being in pots, is to be able to move them to a warmer micro-climate in one's yard. Pots grouped together are also easier to cover up when the temperature dips, and if they are close to your door it isn't such a chore.
Below you can see some of the veggies I grow through the winter in various locations in my yard.
|collards and chard, planted early October|
|Pak Choi in a pot|
|lettuce and pak choi in a salad table (6 inch depth)|
|lettuce from seed planted mid Sept in bag of top soil laid on sod between sidewalk and street|
Sharing with Country Garden Showcase and Farmgirl Friday