Friday, December 5, 2008

Winter vegetables

Even though it's been January weather for us this past November, with more freezing days than we'd had in the fall for some time, it's amazing how well the winter greens in our sheltered vegetable garden next to the Garden's visitor center have done.

This photo is earlier in the fall.

The small garden is sheltered by a low brick wall, and it's in full sun; apparently enough heat is stored in the brick to temper the overnight temperatures.

The snow peas have been frosted, and the purple mustards show signs of frost damage, but fresh leaves continue to appear in both the mustards. The turnip greens, kale, broccoli, and collards are fine, as I'd expect, but the spinach also looks wonderful, and amazingly, the arugula in the mesclun mix is looking fine. Ditto, the lettuces, which must get enough warmth from the wall to be sheltered from frost damage.

Perhaps I need to build a wall around some of my beds at home to extend the season!


  1. It's incredible to me that you can grow these in December! Isn't it amazing what a wall can do? We've noticed a similar effect with our rack walls.


  2. It IS absolutely remarkable, since we'd had some really cold days (for us).

  3. i know this is a really old post, but i was wondering if you could fill me in on how you irrigate this part of your garden-drip, manually, sprinker, etc??? thanks so much

  4. Austin,
    This vegetable garden (at the Botanical Garden where I work) has small sprinklers (you can see them if you look closely next to the wall). Fortunately, in the winter, water needs are usually a lot lower, but we did water in the fall to get these greens established.

    I actually harvested some kale and mustard from this garden for a program this afternoon, but we haven't watered since fall, I don't think.

    Good luck with your gardening!

  5. I should add, too, that in my home vegetable garden that I water by hand (from a hose with a wand) and try to water deeply no more than once a week to encourage deep root growth.

    It's hard to do that in the summer here, when you think plants are needing water!


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