Emma, Preston | November 1, 2018
Summer is by far my favourite season. I love the hot weather, going to the beach and eating copious amounts of ice cream! But I especially love the amazing gardening opportunities we get during our Ontario summers. I love working out in the garden in the hot summer sun, the beautiful explosion of colours and all the delicious fresh produce we get to enjoy. So this time of year, when the weather is cooler and the garden is put to bed, I can’t but feel a little sad. What’s a veggie growing, flower smelling, summer loving gal to do?
Keep on growing of course! The end of our hot summer weather doesn’t mean the end of growing. Here are some options for gardening all year round.
Growing outdoors in cool weather:
Fall is a great time to plant outdoors because many crops prefer cooler weather and some can even withstand a little frost. Try growing greens (lettuce, chard, spinach, kale and collards), cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, radishes and beets.
You can even plant later in the fall for a winter harvest. Try leeks, parsnips, broccoli, brussel sprouts, turnip and rutabaga. You will need to cover these crops to protect them from snow. You can do this by building a simple cold frame or hoop house and covering with plastic sheeting.
Some vegetables, like carrots, parsnips, leeks and kale, taste even better in winter because their starches turn to sugar in the cooler weather.
You can grow many vegetables indoors, provided you have the space and can meet growing requirements for light and water. You can purchase indoor growing lights, but if you have a room that gets lots of sun during the day then you could give it a try without. In the winter months we most often heat our homes in ways that make the air very dry, so ensure you are keeping your plants moist. Starting with herbs, microgreens and sprouts is a great way to begin because they don’t take up very much room and grow quickly.
Check out the Idea Exchange Preston seed library for FREE seeds you can use to plant your indoor or outdoor winter garden.