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Winter Garden - Phase One

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Project by Vallyncia posted 09-06-2010 01:34 AM 2282 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This weekend I planted my winter garden(s), one in the food bank plot, one in my personal plot, and a few odd things on my balcony. I seeded turnips (no idea if that will work), garlic, and swiss chard (which should produce all winter if I put it under a cloche) and put in seedlings of broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and kale. I also planted some winter pansies for colour.
I’m pretty excited, I’ve never had the opportunity to try to grow plants for food production in the winter before so I’m eager to see how successful this is.
I’ve been told that, in our zone, most of these plants should be good through the winter, although most will not produce until early spring (or midsummer, as is the case with the garlic). Swiss chard and kale should produce straight through if I protect it from major cold snaps, and the thought of having fresh greens year round is pretty appealing :) I have also chopped up my cucumber and squash plants and used them as mulch around the new plants, in the hopes that will help keep some of the heat in and the rain out throughout Vancouver’s soggy winter.
The pictures:
Kale, a shot of the food bank plot during planting, me doing some weeding, a shot of the finished bed just after planting, cabbage after two months, and my bed after two months of growth.
As you can see some of my summer harvest is still in place, but the squash plant will probably be coming out in the next week or two. I have one more zucchini I’m hoping will finish developing!
I don’t have any shots of what I did on the balcony, but that was mostly me just putting the odds and ends into pots and seeing if they will grow like that. After all, will cabbage grow in a pot?? I have no idea, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it done…
I guess I’ll let you know in a few months!

November 7, 2010
So everything has been in for about two months now and overall things are going well. I’ve had quite an issue with aphids and cabbage moth caterpillars, but pretty much everything has survived the pests, although a few things aren’t as far along as I had hoped.
The next step will be to build the cloches to cover everything for the frosts that should be arriving in the next couple weeks. That will be my next project!
On my balcony things aren’t doing quite as well. The pests are running rampant, despite my best efforts to remove them by hand and my frequent sprays with a vinegar/soap concoction that helps but doesn’t solve the problem. My pansies are getting annihilated (it took me forever to realize that they were covered with aphids) but since they are such hardy plants I hope they will recover.
And after that first frost the bugs should be pretty much gone anyways, so as long as it’s a strong enough frost to kill the bugs but not so harsh that it kills my plants, I will be very, very happy.

-- Gardens are a form of autobiography. ~Sydney Eddison



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Vallyncia

84 posts in 2598 days
hardiness zone 8

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12 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3724 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 09-06-2010 04:12 AM

reading about winter gardening and produce takes a big mind shift, for me anyway … good luck with all the plants.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Iris43's profile

Iris43

3811 posts in 3353 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 09-06-2010 08:25 AM

This looks so exciting! To be planting a garden in September! I wish you great success with your winter garden.

-- 'To plant a Garden is to believe in Tomorrow'

View Bon's profile

Bon

7374 posts in 3504 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 09-06-2010 08:47 AM

It looks like you have been really busy Vallyncia.Now that the rest of the country is putting their gardens to rest for the winter we can watch your gardens flourish.I think it is so great that you have a food bank garden too.Keep us posted on how things develop over the winter ok.It’s always exciting to see other peoples gardens growing when we look out and see snow everywhere.(lol)

-- Bon,Hastings,Ont.....zone 5a....Always room for one more

View Radicalfarmergal's profile

Radicalfarmergal

4312 posts in 2986 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 09-07-2010 07:53 AM

Are your plants raised up a bit from the rest of the garden soil? That will improve the drainage and keep the roots above water when you get lots of rain. The mulch will help too, good idea. As you probably already know, the mulch will also return nutrients back into the soil. Good luck with your winter garden and I will be watching your progress.

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

View Harold and Pam's profile

Harold and Pam

255 posts in 2798 days
hardiness zone 10b

posted 09-07-2010 10:17 AM

I find it rather funny to think that you (like us) are planting your “Winter” garden and I’m sitting in the heat of Sept at 92 degrees!!

My wife and I really enjoyed your garden photos – very nice. Pam very much liked the lay out you have created. I agree with Robin, raised beds should help the drainage. Look forward to hear of your results.

-- Pam grows 'em - I cook 'em...... Melbourne, Fl

View Vallyncia's profile

Vallyncia

84 posts in 2598 days
hardiness zone 8

posted 09-07-2010 10:49 AM

Thanks for the advice! My personal bed has excellent drainage (almost too excellent when its really hot outside!) but the food bank plot not so much, so I’ll be sure to throw a little extra mulch on there to keep the plants from getting soggy. The beds are somewhat raised and surrounded by concrete so hopefully that will be enough to ensure success. I don’t think that many other people at the garden do a winter plant, so hopefully that’s not because the conditions are terrible :P Honestly, though, I think it’s just that people don’t think of it.

-- Gardens are a form of autobiography. ~Sydney Eddison

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3724 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 09-08-2010 05:11 AM

the concrete will really help with keeping the soil warm

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Vallyncia's profile

Vallyncia

84 posts in 2598 days
hardiness zone 8

posted 09-08-2010 01:25 PM

Excellent! I am also looking to put in some tiles or stones to minimize compaction (right now I step in the beds, bad!) and some cover and anchors for when it’s start to get wintery here in November. Also, because I’ve planted so many “heavy feeders” I am going to have to start doing some major fertlizing in the spring. I pondered doing some now, before fall really sets in, but I’ve heard that’s not the best idea. Any thoughts on that?

-- Gardens are a form of autobiography. ~Sydney Eddison

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3724 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 09-10-2010 03:42 AM

if you were to add manure/compost to your gardens, fall is a good time – giving it more time to decompose over the winter months, ready for spring planting.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Napaman's profile

Napaman

51 posts in 3279 days

posted 09-18-2010 12:20 PM

we just planted some brocoli in Napa…

-- Matt

View Vallyncia's profile

Vallyncia

84 posts in 2598 days
hardiness zone 8

posted 09-22-2010 02:43 PM

An update: I added compost to the plots last night, and saw that about 75% of the things I have planted are doing well. It looks like one my seedlings is being devoured by slugs and my pansies are dying for some reason (I think I may have planted them too sporadically, I think pansies like to have friends nearby).
On my balcony everything is thriving, but something are outgrowing the temporary pots I stuck them in. Hopefully my tomatoes will be done in the next week or so, so that I can get rid of them and throw my winter veggies in their larger containers.
Fingers crossed that this all works out!!!!

-- Gardens are a form of autobiography. ~Sydney Eddison

View Vallyncia's profile

Vallyncia

84 posts in 2598 days
hardiness zone 8

posted 11-24-2010 11:00 AM

I hope to be posting a phase two soon, but first I need to see if my garden survives this unexpected -10oC that we are currently experiencing.
I now have a gardensicle :(

-- Gardens are a form of autobiography. ~Sydney Eddison

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