Many people are under the assumption that because the days are short and the nights long, it is impossible to sow new seedlings. But that is far from being the case, so let’s not leave our flowerpots and garden beds empty just because it is slightly nippy. Many plants thrive in the winter months, and a few tolerate the chill. Just be sure to sprout the seeds indoors, but once they’ve reached an appropriate height, go ahead and plant away. Just to be clear- many of these plants can handle the cold, but snow is generally too much.
1. Onions and shallots
It is easy to plant onions in the late fall so that they may take care of themselves over the winter. Because onions have a long growing season, they won’t be ready for harvesting until the following summer. As a result, it is important to plan with caution as they will still be taking up space in the ground when you are planting other crops in the spring. Shallots follow the same rules as onions, and have become all the rage for cooking-savvy gardeners.
Garlic is very easy to grow, just like onions. It is a hardy crop that does well in all seasons and is even growable from a sprouted clove. Just like onions, the growing season is long, so planting in the winter entails having a summer harvest. The flavors that come from homegrown garlic is incredible and well worth the wait. That being said, green garlic is absolutely delicious when cooked into soups, so consider harvesting a few bulbs for that purpose.
Certain varieties of the leafy green, such as perpetual spinach, provide a wealth of vegetables like you wouldn’t believe. Provided that you planted your seeds in early autumn, your spinach plants will grow quickly and provide you with tender and crisp leaves throughout the summer. With regular harvesting, the spinach will continue to grow through the winter, and perhaps even into the summer with excellent care. Just be sure to trim off the flowers as they grow as spinach goes to seed rather easily.
4. Fava beans
Fava beans are one of the most underestimated of the vegetables. Fairly quick to grow, they are a delight both raw in salads and cooked as a side dish. Sown in autumn, they can be harvested up to a month earlier than plants that were planted in the spring. The Aquadulce Claudia is a particularly good variety as it is quick to establish. Once the plants are fairly stable, you can also cook off the plant tips. They are amazing wilted down in butter with some of your winter grown shallots.
Asparagus is not a plant to take lightly. Only those who have plenty of patience and a huge yard should even consider taking on such a project. But if you are one of those people, by all means, garden away. Asparagus beds take years to establish themselves, but each crown should yield around 25 spears per year. This well-loved vegetable needs twenty-four months because it can be harvested properly, but for the true asparagus lovers out there, they are worth their time.
Though these vegetables do fine outside in the cold, it is possible to have a wider selection if you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse in which to garden. Some very nice options are available, particularly in the realm of lettuces. There are plenty of seeds mixes that contain varieties such as radish greens, mustard and lambs lettuce.