Sunflower Project


Winter gardening


You can grow a winter food garden--outdoors if you live in a mild climate like Coastal California or Florida--indoors if it gets too cold where you live--or, if you live where it's in between, plant in containers outside that you can bring indoors or under a porch roof if the weather report says it may freeze.

Unless you live in the tropics, it's best to start your winter garden in September or October so the plants can get a start while the soil is still warm. Green leafy vegetables like chives, lettuce, spinach and chard take the least sunlight, root vegetables like carrots, radishes and turnips take more. Plant what you like to eat (remember, food from your garden tastes better than food from the store) and what you have enough sunlight for.

What you can grow outdoors in winter depends on your local climate. The best information on winter gardening in your area will come from your neighbors or from plant nurseries in your town.

winter gardening in the Pacific Northwest

Make plastic hats to protect your plants from light frost and hard rains


If everything you eat is from the supermarket
And none of it's organic, or locally grown
If you're getting tired of eating hard, pink tomatoes
Maybe it's time to grow your own.

Grow your own, grow your own
In a community garden or on your own
Get off the internet, get off the phone
Get your hands in the dirt and grow your own.

It doesn't take a farm or even half an acre
It only takes a corner that's as big as a speck
If you have no yard for growing red, ripe tomatoes
You can grow 'em in a bucket on your deck.

A restaurant will give away a food grade bucket
That's number two plastic, and only held food,
Get yourself a hand drill for holes in the bottom
Or maybe nail and hammer fits your mood.

Prop the bucket up, put gravel in the bottom
Fill it up with potting soil or just plain dirt
Potting soil is lighter if you'll want to move it,
A little bit of compost wouldn't hurt.

Tomatos need the summer sun and so does zucchini
But spinach grows in winter if there's no hard freeze
If you live in Canada or Colorado
It'll grow in the livingroom with ease.

If all your entertainment comes from television
And none of it's organic or locally grown
If you're getting tired of someone else's music
Maybe it's time to grow your own.

©1999 by Nancy Schimmel


What else you need to know about container gardening is:

Either gravel or pieces of broken pottery will work for drainage, and if you are gardening indoors put something under the container to catch the extra water that drains out.

Plants in containers need to be watered more often than plants in the ground, but let the soil dry out a little between waterings so it won't get moldy and the plant's roots will get some air.