Vegan Scene

preparing for the winter
August 16, 2010, 8:14 pm
Filed under: gardening

The summer creeps away little by little, and suddenly we are not eating our evening meals with pale blues overhead, but instead with a blustery grey that daily hedges toward dark velvety blue, and eventually black. There is a lot more black in the winter. It’s an intimidating season, but things still find a way to grow.

In late summer, we turn again to sowing seeds for these oncoming months. I wanted to make a list of what I’ve sown recently. This list has plants that can be grown under cover in most of Europe and the northern parts of the US. We recently bought a second hand glass green house. All of these crops will be grown there, undercover, where they will avoid the harsh winds, and hopefully the below freezing temperatures of winter.

Here’s the list:

  1. “cut and come again” salad leaves including tin tin, sorrel, belize, amorina, bughatti, and corn salad
  2. leeks and welsh onions
  3. rainbow and Swiss chard- delicious leafy greens and part of the beet family
  4. turnips- a quick growing crop, providing both greens and a hearty vegetable
  5. sweet cicely- an aniseed flavored perennial herb
  6. parsley

These, in addition to the already established brussels sprouts, purple sprouting broccoli, and continuously renewing kale, will make for nutritious and warming meals during the darker months.

Along with the winter crops, it’s time to sow overwintering green manure seeds! These are sown directly into the ground/beds and will provide a great service to the plot. They add nitrogen content, suppress weeds, and prevent nutrients from leeching out of the soil. There are many different green manures and all have a unique role in the garden. I am sowing winter tares and buckwheat for the first time. The tares are a part of the legume family and thus should be treated as such when considering crop rotation, and buckwheat can fit in anywhere in crop rotation.

I anticipate sowing buckwheat in the beds that contain the potatoes and winter tares (also known as vetches) where my beans are, as well as a in a couple of new beds. Although the tares and beans are part of the same family, The Stock-free Organic Association suggested on their website in their article “Green Manures,” that growing the tares after a cycle of beans is not a problem, so long as a different crop is rotated in thereafter.

Last year, I sowed forage rye where the brassicas currently live, and forage pea where my lettuces and strawberries are now. The rye was a really vigorous crop and provided a lot of bulky green matter to be chopped up and reincorporated into the ground by spring time.  I don’t have any more seeds of this mighty manure, but I might order some up and sow them. There’s time yet because they can be sown until early November.

So, now to enjoy the rest of the summer! It was surprisingly warm today…here’s a picture of our apple tree glowing after the showers:


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