My parents had huge gardens. My dad oversaw the vegetables, and my mom tended the many flower beds around our house. Gardening for my family was about survival. There wasn’t a lot of extra money so the produce from the garden helped cut our grocery bill, and the fresh food from the garden fed us all year thanks to the canning that my mom did. There was a large space in the cellar with shelves full of canned vegetables.
My dad wanted to increase our ability to save money by growing our own food beyond the summer growing months, so he began an indoor garden. I remember loving watching the vegetables grow, but I didn’t feel like I had the green thumb that my dad did.
Several years ago, I started to experiment with gardening on my own. I had a few raised beds, and my attitude was to have fun and see what happened. I quickly realized that I loved the time I spent in the garden. I was out there singing and talking to the plants. My husband built me an enclosed garden and increased the number of beds. I can’t say I always follow the rules of gardening because I have more of a why not try it and see what happens attitude while my husband wants to do everything by the book. This caused some problems when I told him I was going to do a second planting in late August. He gave me a look that said he did not approve of my crazy ideas, and I persuaded him to give it a try. This was the beginning of my foray into winter gardening.
We live in Georgia so the weather can sometimes stay warm through December with some occasional dips in temperatures. This year, I still have peas, cherry tomatoes, carrots, and lettuce growing. Because we do not have a lot of snow, I can grow lettuce and carrots through the winter. There are many ways to have a winter garden even if you live in a colder climate than we do. Here are a few ideas.
A cold frame is a box with a clear top without a bottom that can be made with an old window on a wooden or metal base.
A hotbed is a cold frame with an extra heating device.
A cloche is a transparent covering for a single plant. An example would be a cutout milk jug.
An unheated greenhouse is a glass or translucent building that absorbs heat from the sun and protects the plants.
A row cover is a lightweight, semi-transparent fabric that allows water, air, and sun in but protects the plants from the wind and harsh weather.
Research some more ways to have a winter garden and don’t be afraid to break the rules and have some fun!