Because of Ohio’s unpredictable fall and winter climates, it is generally the time of year when the gardening gloves are packed away and stored until spring. However, that does not have to be the case. Many leafy green vegetables can be harvested throughout the year, but more cautionary actions have to be made to keep the plants from dying during the cold months. Luckily, a greenhouse isn’t even necessary to keep producing crops through the winter!
The most successful greens you can harvest in the cold include spinach, arugula, kale, and leaf lettuce. To retain as much warmth as possible in the bed, it’s best if the seeds are planted in a raised flower garden. The tight space can retain the heat in a smaller area per square foot. Each crop is different, but planting can begin as early as mid-August and go through October to yield crops during the height of winter. A key indicator of when the crops will be ready to eat is comparing the temperature in fall. A warm fall yields greens sooner, and a cooler autumn will delay the growing process. It is best to have some trial and error years until you can grasp the best growing conditions for each type of green.
The key to crop survival is coverage. If you don’t have a green house, temporary shields are the path you will want to take. One of the easiest manmade covers is simply to place thick plastic sheeting over the entire bed, and secure it down with stakes or heavy rocks. Remember, the plastic must be able to be moved depending on growth area and to pick the ripe crops. Plastic can potentially harm the leaves of each plant so it’s important to make it a tent-like feature to hold the “roof” of the overlay high enough over the greens.
The weather is the overall deciding factor on whether or not you will be able to harvest a steady crop throughout the winter, but it is not to be discounted, it is possible! We advise you to talk to greenhouse or nursery expert to decide which crops and growing technique will suit your needs best. Be sure to contact Jones Topsoil for all of your winter gardening, and spring planting needs!