How to pick seeds for winter production

6 Jan

So you’ve decided that you want to grow some vegetables for winter production. You’ve decided vaguely what you’re going to grow (for example, a gourmet salad mix). What’s left now is choosing your varieties.

If you don’t know what sort of plants can be grown through the winter and you haven’t the faintest as to what’s to be planted, it’s time for some research. You should check out other posts on veggies (here, here, and here), do a quick Google (or Yahoo, or Bing) search, or peruse Eliot Coleman’s The Winter Harvest Handbook (Chelsea Green, 2009). We’ll wait.

OK, so we all have an idea of what’s going to be grown in our high tunnel. Leeks? Lettuce? Carrots? Claytonia? It’s all good. Your next task is to grab a seed catalog either in paper or webpage form. Locate the guide to symbols, which will be your best friend shortly. Note any symbols that mean “Cold hardy”, “frost resistant”, et cetera.

Now, moving through the catalog, read the descriptions for each variety of plant and ask yourself these three winter production-related questions. The passing grade is 100%.

  1. Will it stand a frost? Multiple frosts?
  2. Does it grow best in the early spring or late fall?
  3. Does it have a short season (less than 60 days)?

So after you have your varieties picked out, all that’s left is calculating the seed that you need and the whole forking over the cash. And then waiting for that package to show up.

Got a suggestion for a “Learn!” post? Drop us a line!


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