Simpler Living

February 27, 2011

Gardening / Winter Gardening Review


Okay, since spring is arriving, I will do my winter gardening review and my plans for next year.  Check here for my winter garden setup.

I planted several things for winter: lettuce, spinach, garlic, leeks, swiss chard, bok choy, turnips, and beets.

What Worked

The lettuce worked great.  I planted Webb's Wonderful Lettuce.  My wife doesn't like the taste (it is bitter), but as a plant, it worked perfectly.  I had at least three harvests from it over the winter.  I certainly will grow it next year, but probably try out other lettuce varieties and see how they work.

The garlic appears to be doing well.  It has a long growing season, and letting it grow over winter seems to be helpful.  However, I haven't grown it at any other time to compare.

What Failed

The turnips and beets were total failures.  The turnip plants grew, but did not produce any bulbs at all.  The beets didn't grow at all.  I may have had more success if I seeded them earlier, but I doubt it.  I think that, if you want, you can leave beets and turnips in the ground over winter to store, but you shouldn't expect them to grow.

What Didn't Worked As Well As I Hoped

Everything else produced *something* but nothing quite what I wanted.

The spinach is only just now getting ready to eat.  So, that means there was no real benefit of winter gardening - it was just sitting there dormant waiting until the weather got warmer to continue its growing.

I planted the bok choy and swiss chard when it was about to freeze, so I shouldn't be surprised that I haven't gotten much from it.  The few bok choy plants that sprouted are almost ready to harvest, but the swiss chard is still in its infant state.  Hopefully we'll get a growth spurt soon.

I don't know what I should expect from leeks.  They are taking a long time, but doing okay otherwise.  I think they have a long growth season anyway, so we may have saved time.  I'll leave them in the ground and see how long it takes to get a full leek.

What I'm Trying Next Year

I think next year I will try:

  • Celery - I've actually heard that December is the optimum planting time for celery
  • More lettuces - I'll keep Webb's lettuce, and add in a few others
  • Garlic - if the garlic matures soon, I'll certainly add mroe in next year
  • I might try growing a "January King" cabbage
  • Kale and Collards
  • Just read about Mache which looks interesting
  • I might try producing a few crops of radishes
Anyway, it's been a fun experiment.  Right now I'm waiting for my lettuce to bolt so I can collect some seeds.  Hopefully it still has enough umph in it to produce some seeds for me :)