Just read "Start spring in the fall," in Countryside Mag, Vol 93, No 5. The author talks about starting a bunch of different crops in Sept/Oct and seeing them through the winter, such as garlic, which slows growing with the cold and starts up again come spring. Others she discusses are: onions, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, lettuce, peas, asparagus, tomatoes...and a patch of grass inside for her cat
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
posted 7 years ago
Is that the same as 'winter sowing'? There's lots of people over your way using that method successfully. It wouldn't work here: winter doesn't get cold enough and seeds either rot, germinate and grow miserably or die as seedlings.
In a good year I can start lots of things in the Fall that grow slowly over the winter. Fava beans have in the past been a good crop for this - they grow over the winter and then set beans in early spring. Last winter was too cold for them, however, and they died.
Turnips, carrots, collards, parsley do well unless it is an unusually cold year.
You need to know how cold hardy your different vegetables are compared to your usual winter low temperatures. You can overwinter a lot more different vegetables in warmer winter climates than you can in colder winter regions. The Southern Exposures seed catalog has a page in it listing the winter cold hardiness for vegetables growing in their climate. In general you want to start plantings about a month or two before your first fall frost so they can get some growth, then coast through the short days of early winter with minimal growth, then start growing in late winter as daylength and temps increase. If you use a cold frame, you can keep them in growth through a longer stretch of the winter than when growing them out in the open. Territorial Seed has a catalog they send out in June/July consisting of cultivars selected for fall/winter growing.
Fava beans are good to 16F. peas to 21F, most cole crops to 14F (kale and brussels sprouts to 5F), fall radishes, mustard and a lot of oriental greens into the low 20's F, winter lettuce cultivars at least to 10F (a lot of cold hardiness variation between cultivars), spinach, corn salad, miner's lettuce, and parsnips to 0F, mulch carrots below 10F. Seed potatoes need to be below the frost line and some cultivars are better at overwintering without rotting than others. Asparagus is a perennial and can be planted in the fall once dormant just like any other perennial or tree.
Ive experimented with this and im in zone 6. I did lettuce, spinach and carrots. I covered them up with a crate with 2 layers of plastic bag. This protected them, and even though they didn't really "grow", they had a head start for spring and I plan on doing it again this year with the goal of starting earlier,and using this method to store the food overwinter. I will be able to get fresh lettuce etc in the middle of winter this way. The concept is spelled out in Elliot Colemans books. I highly recommend them for ideas.
permaculture wiki: www.permies.com/permaculture
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