22. December 2020

Growing Vegetables in Winter: December Sowing

I finally did a winter sowing in my red grow box! Several different types of leafy greens. I look forward to harvesting them in early spring. Do you want to learn more about growing vegetables in winter? Keep reading!

a growing box with a winter sowing.

I'm growing vegetables in winter too! The winter sowing before the snow comes might look a little messy of course. But I'm going to be so happy that I did it later!

 

I love growing vegetables in winter and recently did two winter sowings as a preparation for the coming spring. This is my first planned winter planting this year and I'm so happy to finally get started! I'm hoping to do one winter sowing per week and especially focus on leafy greens and root vegetables. Growing in winter gives me the opportunity to focus on another, bigger project this spring. I'm going to talk more about this soon!

 

Read more: Guide to Winter Sowing

 

This method of growing vegetables is actually very convenient. It saves me plenty of time in spring and gives me a head start on the harvesting too. The vegetables we grow in winter are ready a lot sooner than the ones we sow in for example March. I live in zone 3 and can often start harvesting my winter-sown vegetables outside already in April. Of course, I have the winter sowings in the polytunnel as a back-up.

 

 

Winter Vegetables in a Grow Box

I've been writing a bit about my red grow box this year (check out the links further down in this post) and I decided it was time to start the winter planting here a few days ago too. The grow box is 4 x 4 ft (120 x 120 cm) and I was able to fit eight rows in the box. These are the varieties I went for:

 

  • broccoli 'Batavia'/bok choy 'Green Fortune'/dwarf bok choy
  • lettuce 'Tennis Ball'
  • lettuce 'Red sallat bowl'
  • spinach 'Palco'
  • spinach 'Giant Noble'
  • kale 'Red Russian'
  • arugula
  • bok choy mix (from my own line of seeds)

 

Check out a video of the sowing below:

 

 

 

I decided to sow the same winter vegetables in a raised bed in my cottage garden earlier this week too. I filmed the sowing but I already forgot exactly which varieties we decided to go for. My mind was scattered I suppose!

 

More About Winter Planting:

Growing winter spinach at home
Winter-sow fast-growing leafy greens
Winter sowing in a cold frame
Sow on top of the snow
Harvesting winter vegetables

 

Close-up of a basket with seed packets for winter vegetables.

There are plenty of options if you want to grow leafy greens. I have around 57 types of vegetables in my own seed collection that are all suited for winter planting. The bok choy mix in the front is a big favorite of mine.

 

Low-maintenance

I sowed the seeds in tight but shallow rows. Simply because I plan on using them as microgreens, which is why I don't need to think too hard about how I sow my winter vegetables. Very convenient!

When it comes to growing vegetables in winter, you don't have to worry too much about the watering. Nature takes care of it with the rain and snow. One thing to keep in mind is to add some wire mesh panels on top. This keeps the animals from digging around in the soil. When February comes, it's time to add a lid on top of the box. The lid will help the soil stay warm longer and the seeds germinate faster even if it's cold outside. Winter sowings usually germinate in February at my house. Spinach can germinate even sooner than that. Don't worry though. These winter vegetables are hardy and rarely freeze or break.

 

A red growing box with wire mesh on top and a house in the background.

I often put wire mesh panels on top of my winter vegetables to keep cats and birds from digging in the soil. It's time to add a lid on top in February, so that the vegetables can grow even faster.

 

More about winter gardening: Bokashi compost in winter

Is this your first time growing vegetables in winter? Don't worry, I have plenty of material about winter planting here on the blog. Just follow the links in the post for more info. You can do your winter sowings both outside in the garden or in the greenhouse too. Just make sure to pick hardy vegetables. A few good ones to get started with are: spinach, lettuce, arugula, dill and bok choy.

Check out what the results of a winter sowing can look like here:

 

The most important thing about growing winter vegetables is probably just to get started. You don't need to know for sure that it's going to work. Just get creative and see what happens. This is one of my favorite things about winter, and I hope that you give it a try too. Good luck!
/Sara Bäckmo

3 responses to “Growing Vegetables in Winter: December Sowing”

  1. D Holland says:

    need to know if chlorophyll production is the same under plastic as it is outside

  2. Rikki says:

    I've been wondering about the possibility of direct winter sowing instead of using plastic containers like so many do here in the states for winter sowing. I'm so glad I looked this up and found your video and blog, you've confirmed my suspicions on winter sowing in the garden. You've inspired me greatly and I'll be out winter sowing in my garden now. Thank you!

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