Snowfall Marks Changing Times in the Veggie Garden

November 24, 2008

The weekend found the garden covered by its first blanket of snow. I’m still growing a few vegetables here in Central PA despite the fact that the weather conditions have turned cold and wintry a lot sooner than I’d prefer.

When it’s not covered by the white stuff, the garden is still green and yielding a limited selection of fresh produce for the kitchen. Kale, collards, broccoli, turnip greens, Swiss Chard, spinach, arugula, leeks, and a few other hardy fall vegetables.

Still Harvesting Hardy Fall Vegetables from the Garden!

You won’t see the rapid growth and production of summer, but the leafy greens will hold better in the garden than they would in the refrigerator. And it’s great to have the option of harvesting a few leaves of fresh garden produce to supplement store bought vegetables. You can reap a surprising amount of nutritious greens from the garden in spite of the weather.

One trick is to hold off harvesting leafy vegetables when they are frozen solid in the garden. Instead wait for a break in weather conditions and allow the leaves to thaw out before you pick and bring them indoors. Unlike the summertime when it’s best to harvest greens during the cooler morning hours, winter forces the gardener to delay harvesting until the warmer times of the day or week.

Not all the plants are enjoying the rush into winter. The globe artichoke and cardoon plants have wilted under the cold conditions and are begging to be cut back and covered with something to keep them warm and dry until spring returns. Those Mexican Sage plants have also concluded their colorful display of flowers, the blueberry plants have shed their fiery red leaves, and you’d be hard pressed to find any herbs still standing in the garden beds.

Wrapping up a few Plants and Other Loose Ends

I did leave a small potted bay laurel plant on the patio and it has surprised me with its ability to withstand the frigid conditions. It will soon join the pampered six foot tall bay plant that was moved into the house weeks ago. A container grown fig tree is also waiting to be relocated to a corner of the garage where it will reside until spring returns.

The portable cold frames weren’t deployed into the garden this fall but I did plant an assortment of kale and other leafy greens into the main cold frame and they seem to be growing nicely now that the caterpillar worms are no longer an issue.

Yes, my duties outside in the garden are just about done for the season. There’s a bed of garlic to mulch, a pond to winterize, and a few more leaves to rake, but that’s about it. Now if the weather cooperates, I’ll be content to continue harvesting leafy greens until I come up with a few indoor gardening activities to bide my time till spring.

Other Related Vegetable Gardening Posts:

  • I grew some winter greens this year, kale, spinach and lettuce. I still have a few lettuces that are doing ok. I plan on harvesting them soon. I’m hoping next year to grow even more fall/winter veggies.

  • I am definitely going to try my hand with kale and broccoli next year as they sound like a great fall/winter crops to grow. I’m already anxious for next spring to plant new things! Your blog inspires me 🙂

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