28. February 2020

Winter-sow fast-growing leafy greens

Growing vegetables in winter are generally called winter-sowing. I decided to winter-sow fast-growing leafy greens in my cottage garden. Trust me, it works!

Pallkragar på rad i en trädgård.

This is where I'm going to winter-sow fast-growing leafy greens in my garden! I put the pallet collars right on my compost and made a little brushwood fence around it. And bought soil for the beds.

 

I can't wait for the next season. That's why I'm going to sow vegetables already now in winter! If you are new to growing, the idea of sowing this time of year might sound a bit foreign. But it's not a joke! The method is called winter-sowing and I do it to get an early harvest of vegetables in spring. And because it's fun too of course!

Winter-sowing is basically about sowing seeds in winter, in cold soil. You can do this outside or in an unheated greenhouse or pots that you keep somewhere cool. The seeds will stay dormant in the soil until it gets warmer. But they grow fast when the light comes back and the spring sun starts beating down. You can actually start harvesting many of our favorite leafy greens a few weeks earlier if you sowed them in winter. I can, for example, start harvesting my spinach in April even though the information on the seed packets tells me that this is the right time to sow the seeds. We live in zone 3.

I decided to winter-sow some seeds here in Oak Hill Cottage Garden in December. A few of you have been asking me what I ended up sowing this time. Watch the video below to learn more:

 

 

 

The location

The growing space I decided to use was three pallet collar beds and a little patch of soil next to them. I sowed two types of vegetables in each little bed. Except for one of the pallet collar beds where I used three.

 

The vegetables are:

  • beets (grown only for the leaves)
  • arugula
  • black kale
  • green lettuce
  • red lettuce
  • spinach
  • bok choy
  • dill
  • leek

 

I sowed two types of vegetables in each pallet collar bed, except for one of them where I decided to sow three.

 

All of the vegetables in the list above (except one) are known to work for winter-sowings and you don't need to worry too much about getting the right variety. You can use any variety you want. These vegetables are hardy and the seeds do well in cold soil. I promise that they won't rot and get destroyed just because the soil freezes and gets covered with snow for a few months. Nature is amazing!

 

More about winter-sowing: 6 vegetables I winter-sow

 

So, I have tried winter-sowing most of these vegetables before. Leek is going to be a bit of an experiment though. I want to see if the plants will grow at all, and I intend to move them to a different spot if the experiment looks promising. I'm a bit skeptic though. After all, I know that leek can be sensitive to temperature changes and the plants bloom quite easily in summer. But we will see.

 

En liten köksträdgård med kyrka i bakgrunden.

It was raining when I did my sowing. We added row cover on top two days later to protect the sowing from cats and other animals that might dig in the beds.

 

I hope you give winter-sowing a chance! I just love that I can winter-sow fast-growing leafy greens this time of the year, and get a nice early harvest in spring. Try it and see what works for you. Good luck!
/Sara Bäckmo

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