November Garden Greens

KevinFrom the Garden, Gardening, Shoulder Season Gardening, Vegetables, Winter Veg6 Comments

The snow is falling, it’s -3C, with -20C in the forecast later this week. And yes, still harvesting garden veg. Was last year too. Not because I have a greenhouse, hoop houses, or even stuff under cold frames [well.. I do, but not for this stuff]. Just planted cold hardy veg in August and let them tough out the elements. Even if the bounty is very limited, it makes the winter without element-protected garden veg short when December through February are the only months that don’t see fresh produce coming into the house from the garden. That’s 3 months that I’m forced to cook exclusively from the cellar without fresh yard supplementation. I can happily live with that.  I think the rule of thumb around here for many folks [which used to apply to me too] is to seed May long weekend, and then harvest in September. That means garden produce is available fresh from the yard June through September, or 4 months of the year. Instead of 9. I don’t like that math.

I used to think Kale was a trooper, and it is, but I have collards next to red russian kale, and the collards are winning hands down for cold hardiness. They look fantastic. Who knew. Guess I’m planting them again next year. You’ll notice in the photo below a broccoli side shoot. I love brassicas. They’re tough as nails, good for you, and tasty.

So I’ll polish off what’s left of the greens, check out the cold frame to see how late I can harvest from that for fun, then get ready to start seeding flats in January. Which really leaves December as the only month I get a full-on garden break. I’ll take it.

6 Comments on “November Garden Greens”

  1. Ashley

    Really encouraging. We just got our first cold snap here too and up until now we’ve had lettuce, spinach, onions, and kale. I haven’t had a peek under the cold frame in the last couple days, so we’ll see if anything is surviving! Thanks for the tip, we’ll try some collards next for year.

  2. Sarah

    I grew raab this year for the first time and love it. At this temperature it is sweet and a bit spicy. Next year I’m growing more. Haven’t tried collards yet. But kale is fantastic. The only problem is finding room for winter veg in August. We had a cool summer so even peas and broad beans were still going strong then.

  3. Kevin

    Ashley – glad I could help! Great job on the lettuce, spinach, etc. I had a nice crop of arugula until recently, but haven’t had lettuce for a while.
    Sarah – Yeah, August is a bit crazy. I found though that I had space because I’d started stuff so early – my cold frame carrots, beets, etc were harvested in June, for example.

  4. Mike

    I couldn’t agree more, the root cellar crops are wonderful but the longer one can eat fresh from the garden the better.

  5. Andy

    I’ve been experimenting with cold hardy veg this year too. My problem is that I’m running out of ways to cook them. Any suggestions?

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