A winter vegetable garden in the Fraser Valley – who would have thought of picking vegetables after the cold weather we have had. A two-week cold spell in November and more below zero night-time temperatures since then, it is amazing that there are still a few pickings in the vegetable patch. It’s now past the middle of January and there are edible fresh kale and greens growing well. Read on for more information on what survived, and did not, in our garden.
The Winter Vegetable Garden
- The 5 kale plants as well as Swiss chard, sorrel, sage and parsley have survived with a minimum hay mulch.
- The 4 – 6″ shoots of the 60 garlic planted in October also look fine.
- Parsley and thyme growing in pots on the patio have also survived.
- These will all be planted again next year.
Other crops to consider growing outside, if you have room, are broccoli, Brussel sprouts and collards. Also root crops such as carrots, onions and turnips. Plant all these during the summer for winter harvest. There is not room in our small, shady vegetable garden to plant these vegetables.
In the Greenhouse
- Small lettuces and mature greens, including bok choy, and a lonely shoot of dill look untouched.
- The herb portable pollinator pots are also over wintering well.
- Due to poor planning and other issues these past six months the winter garden experiment in the greenhouse did not happen. Next year we will try again.
I am starting to research how to prevent plants inside the greenhouse freezing as it is too far from the house to run an extension cord for heating. An option to keep the freeze off is a 70 watt light powered by our portable solar panel
The Lemon Tree
We moved the lemon tree to the vegetable garden this past summer as it was too large to move each year. Unfortunately during the prolonged cold weather, even though protected (but without heat) it has been frozen and has lost many of its leaves. This tree has been so much fun and supplied incredibly fragrant and tasty lemons over the years, so we hope it will survive.
~ Luther Burbank, Botanist
A Winter Garden for Birds
As mentioned in a recent Caramel and Parsley article on hummingbirds, we have many birds in our winter garden such as Thrushes, Juncos and Towhee birds. One of the reasons we are fortunate to have the wild life we do is that our home backs onto a wooded green belt. Why not think about growing a few wildflowers for the birds this year. A bird friendly garden is a lovely place to spend time. Happy planning!