What have you successfully grown in Zone 7 during Dec, Jan & Feb?

star_stuff(Greensboro NC 7a)November 10, 2009

Which winter veggies, if any, have you successfully grown and harvested in Zone 7 during the winter? Especially through December, January, and February. I hate these months with a passion, and would love to grow something.

Thanks a bunch!

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Although there's not much growing in z7 those months there's plenty you can harvest. Here I'll have carrots, rutabagas, parsnips, black radish, Vertus and January King cabbage, brussels sprouts & Jerusalem Artichokes. Tom

    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 9:04PM
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The advice given now will be too late. But you asked for it!
I am further down south in Ga, zone 8.
To have fall crops to be harvestable in those months, you have to plant them late August to early September(from seeds).
I have SUCCESSFULLY grown chinese/korean radishes, mustard greens, chinese cabbage, garlics.
I have some mixed lettuce too. They are now about 3-4" tall. I hope to harvest some of them in Dec/Jan. My chinese cabbages are about 18" tall right now. I have some head cabbage and kohlrabies too but I am not holding my breat over them; they are tooo slow.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 9:54PM
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dancinglemons(7B VA)


Greensboro NC?? I would start some lettuce under cover and try some chard also. If you can find some collard or kale plants at Wally World you can put them in now. The Wal*Ma*rt stores here still have the collard and cabbage plants in stock.

I am in Central Virginia and I call my zone "7+". I usually plant collard greens and kale in September - but these are transplants not from seed. They grow slowly all winter and I pick the outer leaves as needed - I do not cut the plant back. This year I was late and did not get the kale & collards into the ground until early October - they are growing slowly but I anticipate collards and kale for Holiday dinner in December. My beets & chard were started in early September they look great. I eat the chard greens but I am waiting for the beets to grow larger roots before harvesting them.

I don't know that many things will actually grow now but why not try and see what happens in your actual garden.

You could also start some Fava Beans. They will not give you a crop until spring but they should survive your winter. Please read the links I put below for our zone winter gardens - lots of good info.



    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 10:31PM
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sowbusy7nc(Z7 NC)

It's time to put out Onion Sets and Garlic now.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 12:07PM
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the_gurgler(DFW TX 7b Sunset 33)

I got my grubby mits on some garlic, which is always nice. I couldn't find any onion sets when I looked a few weeks back, any tips? The kale and radishes are doing nicely.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 12:52AM
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the_gurgler(DFW TX 7b Sunset 33)

I look right now and Dixondale has them available, lol. I guess I was jumping the gun. ;)

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 1:04AM
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I don't known how things will turn out but I'm going to plant some spinach. kale, chard, mustard, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and carrots.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 2:32AM
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I'm in a colder zone, but it's the arid Southwest, so we have sun almost all winter, and any small protected space will warm up nicely every day.

So here's what I do. I have beds 3 and 4 feet wide. I bend 1/2 inch PVC pipe, 10 foot lengths, over the beds and stick the pipe about 6 inches into the soil on either side. In past years I covered these pipes with painter's drop cloths (clear plastic, that is, not canvas) and clipped them on with bull-nose clips from BizMart. But they can overheat in the sun, so this year I am using heavy weight garden fleece (I found some 14'x14'and trim it a bit to fit). This set-up looks like a gardening Canestoga Wagon. Call it a low tunnel.

Right now my main low tunnel is still providing carrots from my August planting. However, as I pull carrots, I drop a lettuce seed or spinach seed in the disturbed soil, about one every 6 inches. Spring radishes would be another seed to plant now, and mache and claytonia, which do well in REALLY cold weather. Even if the seeds don't sprout and grow right now, they will sprout and grow VERY EARLY in the new year with just a little cover like the low tunnel.

In my low tunnel, I then also put a layer of the thinner garden fleece row cover right on the plants themselves, as added protection when the weather gets colder. I also have a window planter and two hanging pots under there right now, planted with lettuce in September. When the cold weather looks likely to really hit (like this weekend, when temps are supposed to drop to 20 and lower), those pots are coming into the kitchen.

If you can't find lettuce transplants now, a neighbor turned me onto this idea: buy a couple of heads of the expensive hydroponic lettuce that still has the roots on, sold in a clamshell with the roots curled up in the bottom. Use the lettuce without cutting the growing bud in the center. Then pot it up and put it in a south-facing window. Granted, I never got enough for a big salad this way, but we always had a few leaves to add crunch to sandwiches in the dead of winter.

Finally, even if you don't want to do all this now, not having planted your fall garden in August or September, don't give up! Prepare a bed that you will be able to get to in January and February (I have a bed right in front of my south-facing house for this, yes, right by the front walk). Put up the PVC pipe ribs now, before the soil is frozen. Then in January, when you are DYING to get into the garden, put the plastic cover on, sprinkle a little wood ash on the snow inside (if you have snow) to encourage solar melting, and get ready to plant when the soil peeks out. Unclip one side of your low tunnel and pull the cover back, you'll be surprised how warm it is inside! If the soil is really wet, just put seeds on the surface and cover with a little pile of potting soil. Don't plant the whole thing at once, of course. One day you can plant a few radishes, another day plant a few spinach, and so on. They will take longer to sprout that later plantings, but you'll have extra-early spring greens!

In the future, when you plan and plant your winter garden in July, August or September, you can probably have cole-family crops outside all winter (cabbage, kale, collards, broccoli, etc), leeks, and then under a single cover (not two layers like mine) spinach, lettuce, winter radishes, etc.

Read Eliot Coleman's Four Season Harvest for more info.


    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 2:34PM
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