The Winter Garden

 

Alligator Hall, Sarah Sanford, Winter Garden

By Andrea Clark
It’s cold outside.  Even though we are on the right side of the winter solstice and the days are technically getting longer, we have a long way to go before we can think of home grown, vine ripened tomatoes, silken corn on the cob, or dewy tender cucumbers.  But all is not lost, in fact, for us here in the coastal south, this is the best time to grow a vegetable garden.  If you stick to the hardier varieties, you can enjoy fresh picked produce all winter. None of that jet lagged tired stuff in the markets from who knows where will appear on my table.

 

The trick is to remember to plant your garden around Labor Day when it is still hotter than hot and winter is a distant thought.  You will have to water for awhile, but once it cools off, your vegetables will be far less demanding than their summer cousins.  The insect pests all seem to have gone to ground, the weeds are in retreat, and the cooler temperatures minimize water consumption.

 

Alligator Hall, Sarah Sanford, Winter Garden

 

 

Alligator Hall, Sarah Sanford, Winter Garden

In my winter garden I have radishes, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beets, parsley, turnips, collards, cabbage and brussels sprouts.  Brussels sprouts, you say?  For those of you who turn up their noses at those tasty little phytonutrient rich morsels, try the the recipe in Cooking and Grilling for No-Fail Brussels Sprouts.  It is sure to convert even the strongest skeptics!

 

Sarah’s note:  A wonderful thing about many of the vegetables that go into the winter garden: they make you look and feel like a master gardener!  Andrea is so right when she says it’s a considerably less demanding garden than your summer garden. And if you’re in town with a small garden or working in window boxes out of your apartment, you’re almost guaranteed success and the rewarding feeling of growing your own — not to mention they’re just plain pretty plants!

 

 

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