In this useful video by OYR Frugal & Sustainable Organic Gardening we learn the secrets of growing in winter – which is very useful in a survival situation and beneficial for self reliance in general!
People often think of spring-to-fall as the “growing season” and assume that once the fall harvest is done, that’s pretty much it for producing crops. However with the right techniques you can continue through the winter. Here are the 8 tips:
1. Grow with the season. Leafy greens that can withstand cold temperatures – such as lettuce, spinach, chard, tatsoi, mizuna and sorrel – and other hardy crops such as carrots, beets and onions, can be grown through the winter, especially with the protective cover of a hoop house, which gives some frost protection.
2. Grow in the sun. Position the garden so that it catches as much of the winter sun as possible. The winter sun is lower in the sky and the sunrise position differs from the summer sunrise – so observe the way the sunlight falls in winter before planning your garden.
3. Grow under cover A simple rule of thumb is that each layer of protection is the equivalent of moving your garden 1 to 1.5 zones to the south. In colder climates, you can add cold frames inside a hoop house to create an even warmer microclimate; plus your cover also of course protects from harsh winter wind and snow. You can check temperatures inside the hoop house and outside to get an accurate picture of the protection that your cover is giving.
4. Grow in the ground – or in raised beds, as opposed to in containers. The smaller soil mass of containers is more prone to freezing and retains less heat.
5. Grow in succession. Planting some crops earlier in the summer, and creating a cycle, gives you a steadier supply of harvests throughout the winter.
6. Vent to avoid overheating. You may need to remove the cover / open doors in order to keep the space from overheating on a warmer, sunny winter day.
7. Water Minimally. During winter plants need less water as there is less evaporation. Plants also grow more slowly. Check the soil to see if it is dry rather than just watering without checking.
8. Dont harvest frozen greens. This can actually kill the plants. Wait for the sun to warm the plants and thaw them out.
Secrets Of Growing In Winter In An Unheated Greenhouse (Hoop House) – Graphic © off-grid.info. Images: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jtw7pnqFeS4
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