Tips and Tricks: Winter Gardening
Just because the leaves have fallen and it continuously gets colder, it doesn't mean that your gardening and growing has to stop! Though continuing your winter garden can be easier with heated greenhouses and industrial equipment, there are affordable methods to keep your gardens growing at home.
One of the most important things to understand is the soil and climate where you live. This will help you identify what plants will thrive and what ones might not survive our climate. Here in Mount Vernon, Ohio, our climate is zoned at 5b, according to the Gilmour Planting Zone Map. Being classified as Zone 5b typically means that the coolest temperatures reached vary from -15 to -10 degrees, depending on the weather conditions. Our gardens throughout the season experience a wide variety of weather conditions, so it is important to make sure that the plants/crop that we are planting are hardy enough to withstand t possible conditions. It is also important to remember that it is good for you to rotate your crop seasonally, so it is possible to grow more tropical plants during the warmer temperatures.
What Grows Best?
Although Ohio is a great state for growing a variety of crops, there are certain plants that can handle the colder temperatures easier than our summertime plants. Further, into this article, we will do our best to give you some great advice from our fellow farmers in Athens County on the best and most affordable practices for winter gardening.
What To Do
Our friend from Athens County, Ed Perkins shared his winter growing practices with OEFFA, and how they managed to continue harvests through January. In their article, Ed discussed how on their farm they used both low tunnels and high tunnels on their raised beds to help extend their growing season. Raised beds are much more sustainable at retaining heat an moisture and winter planting can vary anywhere from mid-August into October. This allows the plants plenty of time to grow and mature before harvest. The types of materials that can commonly be used are conduit wiring, PVC pipes, and wire hoops along with 4-mil plastic sheets. It is important to make sure that your plastic covering is wrapped firmly across your structure and securely held down. What is convenient about these structure is that they are not perminant, so you are able to remove them and store your plastic for future winter growing seasons. With proper care these structures should be able to sustain multiple years use.
GROW WITH US!
We hope that you all are able to thirve with your winter gardens and are just as ready for the warmer months as we are! We still have plenty of activity going on at Community Roots. If you would like to join our community fun and help us clean up our greenhouse and prepare for spring of 2022 please visit our volunteer page and sign up here. Don't see anything that interests you? Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org to see what other projects we have going on!
"Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle" -Barbara Winkler