growing in winter

While I’m not the biggest fan of the cold weather, I do love the changing seasons here in Vermont. After a very fulfilling first season of gardening, I was sad to put my garden to bed last fall, but I was also excited for the period of rest and reflection that the wintertime brings. Gardening had become such a big part of my life in such a short period of time; I knew I couldn’t stop learning after I laid down that layer of mulch and buckwheat. So, I made a commitment to use this downtime to reflect on my first season, learn as much as I can, and set a great foundation for next year. Here’s how I will keep growing in winter:

keep growing in winter
Microgreens.

Microgreens: The very first thing I did when I came home from putting my garden to bed in October was plant microgreens. This is a simple way to get your hands in the dirt all winter long.  Plus, they’re super nutritious! I’ve also recently started growing broccoli sprouts. I love having life blooming at different stages all around my apartment when it feels so dormant outside.

keep growing in winter
Colorful winter CSA.

CSA Share: I joined a local CSA in November. It has been so exciting to get a weekly delivery of fresh, local fruits and veggies all winter long. Although it’s not quite the same as growing them myself, it has given me the opportunity to continue experimenting with cooking new varieties and canning. Also, I eat pretty well, but I have to say that I have never eaten healthier in my life. I’ve also never eaten more root vegetables, but that’s another topic for another day.

Podcasts: I’m a big fan of podcasts, so it was only a matter of time before I scoured iTunes for the best gardening podcasts. After sampling a few this summer, I landed on my two favorites: The Joe Gardener Show with Joe Lamp’l and The Living Homegrown Podcast with Theresa Loe. Joe’s podcast is laser-focused on gardening – techniques, tips, and tricks to be successful, as well as things to avoid. Theresa talks a lot about gardening too, but has a broader focus on sustainable living with episodes such things as canning, making homemade dyes and cleaning products, and a recent favorite of mine: understanding the behavior of your backyard chickens!

Books and Planning: The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Ed Smith and Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew have been my go-to resources for garden planning for next season. I’ve also been playing around with Gardener’s Supply Company’s Kitchen Garden Planner. If you’re like me and want your garden planned out inch-by-inch before you start seeds in a few weeks, I highly suggest this tool. It’s like a video game for garden geeks.

I hope this helped spark some ideas if you’re feeling the winter blues and missing your garden. How have you kept growing this winter? Leave a comment below to let us know!

Kristen Wirkkala

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