In general there is not much work to do in the garden in winter.
We take our time to read all kinds of books we collected during the warm part of the year and didn’t read them. More time for writing and painting together with our child. I am creating lots of healthy recipes for my e-book so we can spend all spring and summer attention on our gardens and forest.
Still there are some things that you can do in winter in your garden or even harvest fresh winter goodies. Who wants to be self-sufficient during the winter months can do that much easier when you have a full storage to profit from.
Enjoy the food Stock
This is something that we would really like to do now, but we simply didn’t have the time for that this year. We bought our lands this spring and didn’t manage to stock up for the winter except a few things. We dried some herbs for tea and some kitchen herbs as well. Fruits and greens in our freezer and that’s already the end of the list. Next year I want to start conserving our yield starting in spring!
But there are a few fresh plants left in the garden that can be harvested even in winter.
Which plants can stand the frost ?
Luckily there are a few plants that can handle frost or even need it to develop full flavour.
For example: Jerusalem Artichoke, Parsnip, Parsley and Rucola. Those are to be found in our garden at the moment and I can still harvest them. Even after a freezing night they keep on standing.
Especially Jerusalem Artichoke plants are spoiling us this year. I love the flowers and they are so delicious. They shouldn’t be harvested before the frost. It’s starches convert into sugars when they freeze which makes them even more delicious even when eaten raw in a salad. It is really amazing how many roots we could harvest from just one plant. During the year they don’t need any care in the garden and grow good in almost all soils. Keep an eye on them, they can easily take overhand in your garden.
Work in winter for the gardener
We don’t cut back all our plants but some. Especially in the garden at our house we do that to have the biggest variety of plants on a small space. Like that we give light to other plants and make space for vegetables in the spring.
The cuttings we cut a bit smaller and mulch around our perennials. We don’t just do a little layer, it can be up to 20 cm of mulch around. With that method we have really good experiences to keep weeds under control and to protect our plants from frost and give vitamins to them.
Mulch, Mulch, Mulch
In addition to our own cuttings we collect leaves and cuttings from our neighbours to mulch our gardens really thick in beginning of the winter. If needed at the end of december another layer, depending on the speed of decay. You don’t only supply plants with essential nutrients, you are also building great topsoil. We don’t turn the fragile topsoil, not to disturb the decomposing process and just mulch on it to add nutrients. Small animals and insects will be grateful for that as well. Like that you can give them a comfy home for the winter.
This is called “chop and drop” in the permaculture scene and if that sounds interesting for you, you should check out this Video from Val & Eli. We have watched them a lot when we just discovered permaculture as our passion and they have shown us a lot even though they live in a totally different climate.
Time to cut trees
Those of you who have a tree that needs some pruning should consider doing that now on a frost-free day. In winter the juices of the trees are flowing less, so it is less harmful for the tree.
We do not prune a lot, just at our house, the fruits that we cannot reach ourselves stay for the birds.
What do you do in the winter in your garden ?