Transitioning from spring, summer, and fall gardening to year-round permaculture can be a jump for fair weather gardeners. However, if you’re an avid green thumb, you’ve probably wondered how to start growing veggies throughout all seasons. While it may take some trial and error, especially if living in below freezing winter climates, this change simply requires a few adjustments and additional materials from your regular gardening routine.
Photo courtesy of Pexels
Pros of Year-Round Permaculture
Cultivating your own fruits and vegetables is not only a delicious hobby, it’s also a great way to grow exactly what you need. Growing your own vegetables puts you in more control of the food you consume and waste, and is a great way to save money on groceries. By creating meal plans around the produce you’re expecting to ripen, you can prepare or purchase any additional foods you may need to develop well-rounded meals.
Being in control of the produce you grow can also be helpful in ensuring you are eating the vitamin heavy vegetables your body needs. Beets, for example, are loaded with antioxidants and have been noted to help prevent heart disease and inflammation. If you’re unsure of what vitamins and minerals are missing from your diet, nurses are experts in preventative health care and can help guide your nutrition goals on your next doctor visit.
Growing produce year-round gives you more time to grow new vegetables that may grow better in the winter than in warmer months. This can help reduce your grocery bill in the winter months and can help keep your garden active all year. It’s also a good way to stay in control of the produce in your diet throughout the winter, which can help your preventative health goals.
There are a few adjustments needed for winter gardening, and depending on your current gardening situation, they may be minimal. Gardening beds that are slightly underground are helpful in regulating the temperature of your crops both in the winter as well as summer. If your produce boxes are in the ground, you may need a simple cold frame — a window to let the sun in and keep the cold out — and some additional mulch to keep your vegetables warm throughout the winter. Hoop houses are a similar concept, but with plastic rather than glass.
Once you’ve taken the measures to maintain the ecological balance of your plants, it’s important to consider the kinds of produce you’ll grow. Depending on the climate you live in, during the winter, chances are you’ll have to skip the fruits and stick to exploring a variety of vegetables, as fruits can be difficult to grow in climates that aren’t warm. However, there are tons of tasty veggies to grow and eat through the winter.
Some resilient winter vegetables include: winter squash (of course), onions, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and celeriac. There are several other vegetables that will grow in the winter time; these are simply a few versatile vegetables can be used to make all sorts of hearty winter meals. Growing year-round herbs can also help spice up your winter dishes.
Year-round permaculture is very different than warm weather gardening; it’s an in-depth, sustainable subculture that involves cultivating an environment for plants to thrive in. There are several benefits to giving this endeavor a try, including having control of the produce you consume during the winter, staying healthy, and giving winter vegetables a home on your dinner plate. As we ease into spring, consider ways to incorporate year-round permaculture into your gardening lifestyle.