Wintering Greens and Low Tunnels Continued

back to over-wintering greens

Scratch Farm's Notes...

The best things to seed for the winter:

claytonia:  otherwise known as miners lettuce, grows wild in milder climates.  Seed in September for spring harvest, it will be one of the first spring greens, and it will produce for a long time, very mild and tasty, beautiful, and productive.  Cut leaves when they are 4-8" tall.  Seed about 4 seeds/inch (a tiny tiny amount, the seeds are small).

mustard:  seed in September, best if seeded in mid september, thin to a plant every inch, will regrow in spring

mache: very very cold hardy, and tasty, but slow growing and not that productive, can be seeded any time in the fall or spring, if seeded in early september, you may be able to harvest it in January or Feb, but if planted any later, harvest will be in the spring.

lettuce:  If you plant this in Mid Sept, you will get one harvest off of it in Nov or so until it stops growing for the winter.  But it will bounce back in March and grow and grow and grow!  Just be sure to cut all of the leaves off once every two weeks at first, and later once a week, the leaves will re-grow

cilantro:  best if seeded in late august or early september

spinach:  best if seeded in mid september, spinach will be one of the few things that will be harvestable in the dead of winter, so hold off picking it until everything else in done.  it will survive even without any cover.  1 seed/inch.

kale: if you already have kale growing, just cover it, otherwise, plant a quick growing variety, like red or white russian in August or Sept, seeds 2" apart

collards: same as kale

senposai: similar to collards, but faster growing, very tasty

mizuna: a mild salad green, very fast growing, and not as cold hardy as other greens, so seed it in early september, eat it through the fall, but don't expect it to live through the winter

tatsoi: mild tasting salad brassica, delicious, very cold hardy, but bolts quickly in the spring, so it is much better as a fall crop

all kinds of other brassicas:  look through the seed catalog and pick out some varieties that look good, try them out, they just might work, and let your friends know if they survive the winter

chrysanthemum: I have never grown this one, but its delicious, and I think its pretty cold hardy

chickweed:  a common weed, grows in fertile garden soil, keep an eye out for it and encourage it, the taste is similar to spinach, and it is very good for you, one of my favorite winter greens


crops you can keep alive in the ground:

parsley:  will continue growing and be harvestable in the very cold months if covered, mine was nibbled by mice in February and was no longer harvestable

chard:  won't grow in the winter, but will grow in the spring

carrots:  need to be seeded ideally in mid july, but can be seeded up until the beginning of august, once it starts to get really cold, cover them with a thick layer (8" to a foot) of leaves, and then put a tarp over the leaves, you will be able to pick carrots all winter, even out from under snow!  These will be the best carrots you have ever tasted.  Watch out for mouse damage, the mice love it under that tarp, they will eat the tops off of the carrots, that will start happening in February, thats when you know that its time to pick all of the carrots.

parsnips:  just leave them in the ground, pick them whenever the grounds thawed, they don't need to be covered at all, they are much sweeter after being frozen a while.

dandelion root: another common weed, also a favorite, you can dig it any time the ground is thawed in the winter, its delicious chopped and fried in butter, with parsnips



These cold-hardy plants will survive the winter if full grown by late Autumn and be ready for a spring harvest. Some like parsley and spinach will even grow in the winter time if covered!