Harvest vegetables all winter
When cleaning in the autumn in the vegetable garden, remember to save such vegetables that can be harvested even after it has been frozen.
Vegetables that can be harvested during the winter
Some vegetables may pay to plant later in the season and harvest during the winter. Some are good to protect a little by lightly covering with spruce twigs, others are a little sad about the winter treatment, but fully edible. Just clean off a little brown and use as usual.
You get an even better harvest if you grow in cold benches, hot benches or in tunnels. Then they get winter protection and can grow even lower into the season.
Spinach is very hardy and evergreen. Sow even late in the season, so you can harvest in the winter.
Brussels sprouts is good to pick until they become a little loose in the body. The stem is also very deliciously cooked.
Give you parsley a little winter shade with spruce twigs, it overwinters and gives a nice harvest during the coming spring and early summer, until it blooms.
Kale for example, you can harvest all winter, as well chard, spinach and mache (winter lettuce).
Several leafy greens, different cabbage varieties, winter lettuce, spinach and some Asian leafy vegetables stay fresh despite the winter.
Jerusalem artichoke is a perennial tuberous plant and can be harvested all year round, only it can be dug. More on that grow Jerusalem artichoke is here.
Trädgårdsmållans green leaves give a green sour sting in the salad bowl. The leaves can also be used in soups.
Perennial arugula can retain some evergreen leaves, even if it blooms.
Dandelion works like and tastes like arugula. More about the dandelion's culinary possibilities and dandelion recipe is here.
The thick stems of the leeks usually survive the winter, garlic can also be grown for its top.
The leek it can also be dug out of the snow and survive the winter into next year.
Garlic blasts often overwinter, and can therefore be grown for their blasts. But then you harvest the tops, there will be no tubers.
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You do not need a large garden area, you can grow vegetables on the balcony, in pots, in a pallet collar or cultivation bench. Radishes, lettuce or even potatoes can be grown in large pots or buckets on the balcony. As soon as you can dig into the ground in the spring, you can sow, for example, romaine lettuce, radish, dill, parsley, lettuce, sugar peas and spinach.
Some plants need to be sown indoors to develop in the best way, such as squash and pumpkin. Some need help against the competition from the weeds to begin with, such as parsley, and some are extra sensitive to frost and therefore also need a start indoors, such as kale. Carrots, radishes, dill and lettuce are examples of vegetables that can be sown directly in the open as soon as the soil has warmed up.
In the garden
It is in the autumn that most plants release their seeds - seeds that either germinate into seedlings already in the autumn or lie in the cold soil and wait for the heat of spring. Be inspired by nature and scatter your own seeds for an early harvest this spring! Feel free to take the opportunity to fix those plant supports that collapsed this summer, but you do not have to clean too much in the garden. You can leave dead stems, flowers and seed stands. They protect the roots from the cold of winter and make your garden more attractive to useful animals.
Sprouts are the fastest way to get the taste of home-grown food.
We have not bought leafy vegetables for several years. We enjoy home-grown winter lettuce, almost impossible fresh from the garden - freshly harvested in February.
Rinse leaves from winter lettuce harvest in February. We eat the whole leaf rosettes as they are.
In summer, the leafy vegetables are fast-growing. In just a few weeks, a bed of flamboyant leaves is filled in different shades of green and red. With just a few weeks' notice, you can grow the world's most successful harvest.
But in winter it is the second commandment. Expect six months in advance and more than that. This is one of the most important differences between summer cultivation and winter cultivation. After several years of intensive experimentation with winter cultivation, I can honestly say that foresight is what determines whether you become a happy winter grower or not.
Barely one square meter in size is precisely this cultivation area in the tunnel greenhouse, filled with small leaf rosettes to harvest in the winter.
The seeds are sown by simply sprinkling them on the ground and scraping them down. It is called broad seed.
Puddle leaves for winter harvest
This is a distinguished small cultivation of winter lettuce, the vegetable that you as a beginner may most feel like mache from the store shelf. A wonderful leafy vegetable that is the freshest of all winter leaves. It is crispy and tastes a little nutty. Invaluable, if you ask me, because there is simply a shortage of ready-to-harvest leaves at this time of year.
I grow winter lettuce in several places and make seeds from July to September. This way I have leaves in different sizes to harvest throughout the winter. Right now we have just finished eating the seeds that were made here in the tunnel greenhouse in August and then jump on to the September seeds. And yes, it may seem strange that such a late sowing can produce such fine leaves. But that's the winter salad.
In September, I raked in order this old hot bench, where melons had previously grown. I sprinkled a whole bag of seeds over the surface and crawled into the ground. Watered and has since observed how the plants have slowly grown through the cold months. Slowly. Already in late summer and the beginning of autumn, I plan and sow for what is to be harvested during the winter and late winter. Twelve months a year I can harvest in the garden!
I grow in zone three, south of Växjö. But winter lettuce is a fantastic companion in the garden in other plant zones, do not let yourself be hindered!
It is easy to pry the plants out of the soil. The small root is pinched off afterwards.
In yesterday's snowy weather I barely had time to get in before the leaves got a dressy white blanket. How nice!
These plants are small and delicate. At harvest, I pull the whole plant out of the soil and shake off excess soil. Once in the kitchen, I pinch off the root and put in the compost, rinse the salad in a colander and then it is ready. Awesome good just as it is or with oil, balsamic vinegar or dressing on. The children swallow it in fists directly from the bowl, as if it were candy.
The winter lettuce grows further now in February when the light comes back little by little. Then the plants become busier, they get more small rosettes of leaves on each plant, grow taller and then put a flower stalk. The reason why I completely lift off the plants when I harvest, instead of, for example, taking leaf by leaf, is that I do not wants that the plants should continue to grow and bloom. I want this bed for something else, so I harvest to free up space for the next step in my cultivation. Now I sow other fast-growing leaves for spring harvest.
Elsewhere in the tunnel greenhouse, I have other seeds for growth, in beds and in pots. They will yield when the leaves here are eaten. Many seeds, many places - lots of food!
Feel free to read recipes for Creamy gratin of Jerusalem artichokes with winter lettuce
Freshly harvested leaves of winter lettuce put me in a good mood during the winter!
Questions and answers
After I shared photos and a live update on Instagram from the harvest yesterday, some questions arose. Here I answer them:
If you only have a small cold greenhouse, do you think it works to sow in September and get a harvest now anyway?
It depends on where in the country you grow. Far to the north, it can be harvested later because the light is poor. But yes. Most people think it is too cold to grow in the winter, but in large parts of the country it works fine. Winter lettuce is one of the most cold-tolerant leafy vegetables. I have no heat in the tunnel greenhouse and it grows canon anyway!
I have tried to grow but did not think it became the same taste as bought mache. Mine was so bitter that no one wanted to eat it. What went wrong?
My first thought is that the plants have received too little water or fertilizer. If they stand and stomp in soil that does not give the plants what they need, most leafy vegetables protest by delivering bitter leaves. I have grown several varieties of winter lettuce and none of them have become bitter, so I definitely think it has to do with the growing conditions. Some leafy vegetables, such as lettuce and pak choi, can be bitter in the absence of light. However, I have never experienced that with winter lettuce.
Leafy vegetables are in all their simplicity yet plants that love nutrition. Before sowing, I watered this soil with plenty of pee water (at least 1 part pee and 10 parts water) and during the autumn also fertilized with bokashi water. Try again! You will be so happy when it works.
It should be possible to grow on the balcony in zone 1?
Oh yes! Fill low tubs or similar with soil and broad winter lettuce during the autumn. Perfect!
Can you grow winter lettuce in the summer?
Yes you can. But it risks blossoming. The big point with winter lettuce, kale and winter purslane, I think, is that they are some of the very few leafy vegetables that can be harvested in the winter. I like the idea that they are exclusive to this season in our food. It makes me long for them throughout the summer and fall, revel in them in the winter and then eat other delicious leaves in the summer, which have their best growing season then.
We have a fairly large plot of land, but 1.10 m of snow and 15 degrees below zero, so I think it will be difficult with winter lettuce!
Wrong. If you had prepared in the autumn before the snow came and, for example, grown lots of winter lettuce in a greenhouse or in a pallet collar with a lid, then you would have had food to harvest as a pleasant surprise when you shot your way to the house or the snow eventually melts . Imagine two pallet collars with autumn-sown winter lettuce and clearing the lid in February and whitewashing the treasury. Preparation is a must and anyone who really wants to can find great ways to grow food for the whole year even in a snowy part of the country. There will be a nice guest blog post on the topic soon.
When have you sown the lettuce you are now harvesting and growing it indoors, outdoors or in tunnel greenhouses?
This harvest is sown in September. I do not grow winter lettuce indoors because it is not space efficient. This is a harvest from the tunnel greenhouse, but it is just as easy to grow it outdoors.
You mean, like, saltines and their ilk, eh?
This is a harvest from the tunnel greenhouse. I have sown winter lettuce in the open in the open, it is very nice. If I had a September sow in the open, it would have looked the same, yes. It is one of our absolute hardiest leafy vegetables. It's hard to believe, given that most people buy it imported from the Mediterranean regions. Of course it's crazy, when we can grow it ourselves throughout the winter in large parts of the country.
Do you have any heat in the tunnel greenhouse?
No, it's unheated throughout the winter. I only grow vegetables that can withstand the cold well and think it is wonderful to eat climate-smart food that can be grown easily throughout the year.
If you are one of those who buy seeds only once a year and no more, I already advise you to buy several bags of winter lettuce. This is one of the most cultivable vegetables. Grow a lot! Eat a lot! We use it in salads, as sandwich vegetables, on the omelette or mixed with oil as a dressing. Mums!
/ Sara Bäckmo
Grow vegetables indoors in winter
Text and image: Anna Theorin
First we need to go through what you need to be able to grow indoors. I have scaled down the accessories considerably because I want everyone to be able to grow at home, but there are still some things you need to acquire.
- Seeds, various lettuce seeds, broad beans, radishes, etc. Feel free to try your old seeds you already have.
- Sowing soil
- Liquid fertilizer for vegetables, I recommend BioBact.
- Paper newspaper, regular daily newspaper
- Any form of trough, works with any plastic trough or glass trough, eg ice cream package or oven dish
- Fluorescent lamps with cold light (can be excluded in certain cultivation methods)
- Foil (can be excluded in certain cultivation methods)
Easy cultivation of shoots
Growing shoots indoors is both easy and fun. You can harvest several times if you fertilize continuously. I have tried both first shoots and broad beans.
Broad beans and peas were easiest and gave the most harvest per box and seed. The broad beans taste more than the pea shoots, but they are not as crispy and water-tight but more leaf-like. I have tried to grow the peas in water only and in sowing soil. Those in sowing soil came up the fastest but require a little more care as the soil dries out faster than just water.
This method requires no extra light and no foil, but if you want to harvest several times, you need to fertilize in the watering.
If you are going to grow pea shoots in water, you simply pour a lot of ordinary yellow peas from the store on a plate and pour on water. Set the peas warm and bright. For a few days, it may be a good idea to rinse off the peas, especially when the outer shell releases. I do not want the outer casing to be in water and rinse it off as soon as it releases. Then you sometimes water when you see that it has evaporated, the peas do not have to be completely immersed in water, but it is enough that the little root that comes is.
When you grow in sowing soil, you plant many peas about one cm into the soil and water. Also set this tray warm and bright. Keep the seed moist at all times. Sometimes you may need to shower the seed both morning and evening if it is hot and sunny.
When harvesting, cut above the first pair of leaves if you want to harvest more than once. So there should be one leaf left on the shoot after you cut. Now you can start pouring liquid fertilizer into the water when you refill. Use very weak dose. You who use BioBact see that the water should only be light colored by the biobact and if it is too dark you can dilute it with more water.
Broad beans are planted in sowing soil and harvested and cared for just like pea shoots that you grow in sowing soil. However, they need more space for their roots than the peas so they sow more sparingly.
Grow vegetables under extra lighting
I grow vegetables under extra lighting indoors all winter. Then I used pots made of newsprint but you can use whichever cultivation trough you want. I have grown different kinds of lettuce, radishes and chard. This has worked great! I have sown everything except the radishes tightly because I want real radishes and not just thin leaves. There will be no big radishes, but there will be radishes.
Start sowing your seeds in sowing soil. Water lightly and set the seeds warm until they germinate. After everything has germinated, it is time to move the seeds to a cooler place. Since we will use extra lighting, it does not have to be next to a window, but you can place the seeds further into a room, in a basement or wherever you have space. Mount the fluorescent tube above the seeds. The fluorescent lamp should hang about 10 cm above the plants or closer and be moved up the taller the plants become. As reflectors, I use regular foil, tear off two sheets and attach them to the long sides of the seeds so the light reaches everywhere and not just from above.
Make sure that the seed is moist often and since we have used sowing soil, we fertilize water from the beginning with a weak dose of fertilizer in the water. It takes a while for the vegetables to get big but it is well worth the wait. Finally, you can pick small leaves of the salad and then take and harvest the radishes.
Pick the lettuce each leaf separately and you can continue to harvest for a longer time than if you take and cut off all lettuce leaves at once.
Make sure you have some seeds in place once you have finished harvesting so you can put them there under the plant lighting and continue harvesting vegetables throughout the long winter.
Three ways to grow in the winter: Sara Bäckmo's tips
Harvest in winter
A large part of winter cultivation is about harvesting when it is cold, both in late autumn, during winter and early in the year. The easiest way to get started with winter cultivation is simply to leave the vegetables in the country even though it is starting to get cold. In many cases, snow insulates against the cold and can mean extra protection for what is left outside. Vegetables that are well suited for harvesting in the winter are kale, red cabbage, savoy cabbage, spinach, winter lettuce and winter portlak. In slightly milder climates, it can also work with root vegetables such as parsnip, black root, Jerusalem artichoke, oat root and winter carrot.
The black cabbage 'Nero di Toscana' is incredibly beautiful with its dark leaves. In addition, it gives a lot of harvest - even in a small area.
The advantage of sowing in winter is that the seeds prepare and germinate in the soil, which is why you get an early harvest. The optimum is to sow just before the soil freezes, but it is also possible to sow directly on frozen soil and then cover with a layer of thawed soil. Feel free to put on a lid made of plastic or similar. Vegetables that are suitable for sowing in the winter are carrot, parsnip, spinach, lettuce, arugula, parsley and dill.
Grow in greenhouses
In winter, greenhouses or tunnel greenhouses are undoubtedly the best place to grow because the vegetables are protected from wind and farm precipitation. Another advantage of growing in a greenhouse is that it is easier to harvest. Make sure that the greenhouse is in a sunny place and grow in large soil beds, then the vegetables can withstand the cold better. Vegetables that are well suited for winter cultivation in greenhouses are leeks, black cabbage, spinach, savoy cabbage, parsley, chard, red cabbage and cabbage.
Storage in the attic
Onion pots can be stored well when laid out. For small stacks (left) the leaves of the bulbs are carefully intertwined and the end is tied with a string. For a braid, which should include many bulbs, take three cords about 50 centimeters long and gradually mix them with leaves of leaves. In a dry and airy place outdoors, the foliage can dry up completely. Then the onion islands come to the attic as a winter supply
All onions, such as onions, shallots and garlic, last the longest in a not too cold loft. The darkness and low humidity are important, otherwise the lights will burn out prematurely. Too low temperatures cause a cold stimulus, which also promotes the budding. You best hang vegetables with the dried leaves into braids intertwined on a clothesline or a string.