November 19, 2020

Winter gardening success in unheated hoop houses

Grow your own fresh food all winter long with these winter gardening tips for success…

Did you know that you can successfully grow food in the winter, even without a fancy or heated greenhouse? Even if you live in a moderately cool climate, it is possible to grow fresh veggies throughout the winter with just an unheated hoop house. In fact, we grow many winter vegetables in low tunnels up until at least February here in Central Ohio using the winter gardening techniques mentioned in the video below.

One of the main keys to successful winter gardening is growing the right crops. You can’t expect summer crops to grow well in winter. For success, you’ll need to choose crops and varieties that are adapted to cooler weather. For example, leafy greens such as mustard greens, Tatsoi, claytonia, kale, collards, dandelion greens, and some varieties of spinach are quite hardy. Cabbage can also do well, and in more moderate areas, some varieties of lettuce.

Winter radishes are one of our favorite things to grow in the fall, although we typically harvest them by mid-late November when the ground starts to freeze. (They will usually keep in the refrigerator for a couple of months after harvesting.)

Turnips, carrots, rutabagas, and parsnips are also excellent winter vegetables, and you can often leave them in the ground even after it freezes, harvesting during thaws.

This helpful video from One Yard Revolution explains their techniques for successful winter gardening in an unheated hoop house.

For more information, we highly recommend the excellent books Four Season Harvest and The Winter Harvest Handbook, by Eliot Coleman (who grows food year-round in Maine).

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About the author 

Rose S.

An avid gardener since childhood, I love sharing my passion for gardening with others! I have gardened in a number of different climates and settings, from large fenced garden plots, to tiny patio and container gardens, and I firmly believe that everyone can learn to grow at least some of their own food - no matter where you live. Growing your own food can help you take control of your own health and food supply, and there has never been a better time to get started!

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