Mother Nature has thrown us yet another curve ball with warmer than normal fall temperatures here in New England, but as a gardener you can use this to your advantage to start a winter garden.
I have come to appreciate walking out into may garden to pick fresh kale, lettuce and other salad greens all summer as opposed to the tasteless and often bitter greens you often get from the grocery store, and just because summer is over it doesn't mean that supply of fresh greens has to end.
There is nothing like going out to your garden in the middle of January to harvest fresh lettuce, greens, radishes, and carrots for a salad. The cold tolerant veggies are easier to grow in late fall and winter because you don't have to water as much, the problem of pests is virtually eliminated, and the veggies taste even sweeter because of the colder temperatures!
Winter growing is extremely easy to do, and is quite possible even here in the North East with cold winter temperatures and an abundance of snow. To be successful you need to do a little planning which I have written about in Planning a Fall Garden. You need to choose cold hardy varieties of arugula, celery, endive, leeks, lettuce, parsley, radish, scallions, spinach, swiss chard, carrots, kohlrabi, mache, radicchio and kale and start them early enough to be established before the cold weather hits. As soon as it starts getting colder, the plants growth will continue, but at a much slower rate. You will also need to protect your plants from frost and snow by using row covers, hoop houses or cold-frames (mini-greenhouses).
I have written several posts about growing a winter garden using min-greenhouses.
Mini-greenhouse are practical, inexpensive and are perfect for those who don't have the room for a greenhouse. They are easy to build, portable and have many uses throughout the year. They can be used for starting seedlings in the spring, starting early tomatoes & peppers, protecting tender plants from wind and harsh weather, hardening off seedlings before planting in the garden, moved to the garden to extend the growing season, and of course to grow a winter garden.
Free downloadable plans to build the mini-greenhouse are available on my Project Plans page.
I have had such an overwhelming response to my step-by-step greenhouse plans that I have decide to also make available step-by-step plans to build the mini-greenhouses as well.
The plans include complete step by step instructions as well as materials list, cut lists and templates to build both the 4' x 4' and 4' x 8' mini-greenhouse. They also include plans to build the raised bed system which can be used as the base for the mini-greenhouse.
They are available in my ETSY store in PDF form and will also be available soon as a printed and bound booklet.