Our sad little winter garden


In years past, we have had rather glorious winter gardens. I’m sure I’ve written about it on this blog before, because I usually feel like bragging when we can go outside in January or February and harvest a salad.

We learned our techniques from Eliot Coleman’s classic book Four Season Harvest, and we found for the first three or four winters that it really wasn’t tough at all: Just plant hardy greens in the fall, put cold frames (basically, mini greenhouses) over them when the frosts start, and eat to your heart’s content until spring. Compared to summer gardening, it’s actually a breeze, because there are no insects and almost no weeds.

Well, this year we had our Waterloo. We planted our usual winter crops in the ground in early October. They all failed to germinate. So we planted again. For the second time, lousy germination and for those little plants that did poke through, insect damage.

So we took the operation inside, figuring we’d plant in seed flats and put the plants under grow lights to help them catch up. Then we’d move them outside. Three things prevented this from happening: 1. The big snowstorm in December. 2. The extreme cold in January. 3. Big and extreme laziness in both December and January.

Eventually, our will for a winter garden petered out entirely and though we haven’t actually discarded our seedlings, we no longer take care of them. It’s really a sad scene.  

Forgotten arugula.

Well, sometimes it happens, I guess. You always get a fresh start with the next season, and so shall it be this spring.

Anyone have a more successful winter garden they want to crow about?