Growing vegetables in container gardens in the fall and winter is perfect for home, office or school projects. A variety of greens and root veggies can be successfully grown in containers regardless the weather conditions.
One very important fact to be aware of before you start…make sure you are using the right size containers….any plant needs room for good root expansion, good drainage from the bottom and good soil…success is bound be happen!
Greens and root herbs are the way to go with fall gardening. When you plant in mid to late August, September, or early October, germination can actually happen more quickly since the ground is still warm. However, you may need to wait a few extra weeks for maturation if you’re in a cold winter climate. Some of the best plants to grow in your fall containers are these hearty greens and herbs:
1. Arugula: These greens are so hearty, incredibly easy to grow, and since they’re also super expensive at the grocery store, growing them at home is both tasty and frugal. Arugula is great in fresh green salads or on sandwiches instead of lettuce.
2. Kale: A hearty and lovely green, kale thrives in fall and winter in all but the coldest climates. It’s somewhat cold tolerant, so it will survive early winter gales. But bring it inside if the frost is persistent for several weeks in a row. (In the SE region no worries)
3. Spinach: Another hearty green, spinach is a favorite for salads and savory baked meals alike. Spinach won’t survive the harsh winters of the Northeast, but will tough it out through the seasons in the rest of the U.S.
4. Turnips: Root vegetables are a great choice for the cooler container gardening months. Deep in the soil of your larger container pots, turnips will keep warm and thrive. And they’re also a great addition to those oven-roasted winter vegetable mixes.
5. Carrots: A family favorite, carrots survive larger containers by keeping warm deep in the soil. If it’s possible, you might even try burying your container in the soil to keep it even warmer. Carrots are great raw or roasted or even grated into sweet treats like carrot cake and muffins.
6. Herbs that compliment fall and winter food gardens and menu choices are; rosemary, sage, and thyme. Rosemary can be nipped if frost is severe and over a continued period of time…so keep check and shelter it if needed.
Replace all soil from the previous year in container growing…nutrients leach drastically from containers and dead soil will give you dead results.
Water on a scheduled system, water deep and allow drying almost completely before watering again.
A water (moisture) gauge for container plants is imperative for the best results with container growing.
Also a must is regular feeding…simply add fresh compost or Organic feed of your choice to the top layer of your containers at least every 4 to six weeks…Every two weeks is really my choice.
** Keep in mind…while container growing can be successful inside the home…for any plant to grow and produce well you must have a balance of good lighting for at least 6 to 8 hours every day…on the porch, in a solarium, cold frame or very lightly heated greenhouse works better than inside a residence.