Eat Well All Winter as a Home Grower

Novice gardeners often imagine that the gardening year ends when the cold weather arrives. But, it is perfectly possible to grow food, and eat well from your garden all year round. Here are some tips to help you eat well all winter as a home grower:

Provide Winter Protection & Grow Winter Crops

There are certain crops that can continue to provide a yield all winter long in your garden. Especially if you provide plants with some protection from the worst of the winter weather. You can consider adding a greenhouse or polytunnel, or simply using cloches or row covers. Other methods to protect winter crops include adding a mulch of straw, sheep's wool or other insulating material around your crops, or growing them in a hot bed, which provides gentle heat from below as the organic matter within it decomposes.

Learning what to plant when is key. If you want to have crops to harvest over the winter, you need to start planning for this as early as the previous spring, and right through the summer months. For example, you might sow leeks, turnips, swedes, parsnips, kale and Brussels sprouts in spring or early summer, leafy greens throughout July and August, and successional crops of hardy leafy greens even later.

Grow Some Food on Windowsills Inside

In addition to growing winter produce in your garden with protection, it is also worthwhile considering growing some quick crops, herbs etc. on your windowsills over the winter months. Quick crops of lettuce, for example, can be grown all year round indoors, and there are a number of other micro-greens, pea shoots and other crops that you could consider.

Growing winter crops indoors can also expand the range of edible plants that you are able to grow. For example, you could consider growing exotics like citrus fruits, or exotic spices and herbs – all of which could help enrich your winter diet.

Store Spring, Summer & Autumn Harvests For Winter Use

Eating well in winter, however, is not all about eating fresh. Eating from your garden year round involves not only eating the plants as they grow, but also thinking about how you can preserve the flavours of each season to enjoy later during the coldest months.

There are a range of different ways to preserve your seasonal crops for later, including:

  • Making fresh produce into jams, chutneys, pickles or other preserves.
  • Canning fresh produce using hot water canning systems.
  • Freezing your produce.
  • Drying fruits and vegetables for later use.
  • Storing root crops etc. in a cold root cellar.

Whenever you have a glut of a particular fruit or vegetable, it is important to make sure that none goes to waste. The methods above should help you make sure that you always make the most of each and every harvest.

When you preserve your produce, even when there is not much actually growing in your garden, you should always still have plenty to eat. You might be amazed how well you can eat, even when you only have the smallest of outside spaces.