The change from winter to spring a very welcome seasonal shift for me. Good bye winter, hello spring! Our winters are wet, cool, and often dreary. But still we’re fortunate. No matter what the season, there’s always something growing in our garden. Come and join me for a behind the scenes look at winter 2022 in our Green in Real Life home garden.
Seasonal Success Stories and Top Crops
Citrus continue to shine as the star crops of our winter garden, with oranges, grapefruit, lemons, mandarins, and ugli fruit brightening up the winter days. I’ve been squeezing juice in the mornings from freshly picked fruit. A luxury worth the workout of hand-squeezing with our basic juicer dish.
Elsewhere in the garden, cool weather root vegetables have done well. There are plenty of carrots, beetroot, and my less-favoured turnips, daikon, and other winter veggies. But we grow what the weather allows and are always happy to share when we have more than we need. Or want. Haha! Coriander is a favourite for the winter garden, where it grows well until the days start to warm and the urge to bolt kicks in. The cos lettuce was also happy this winter, which was extra nice with current prices and availability issues. We also had lots of rocket, spinach, and parsley.
Experimental Winter Glasshouse Plantings
Our glasshouse was in full swing with overwintering frost-tender plants and experimental winter gardening efforts this year. Trays of microgreens grew great on the main shelves, and we’ll definitely repeat that next winter. Under the bench, experimental planter bags of frost-tender kumara and potatoes grew well in their sheltered glasshouse microclimate. As a bonus, they were delightfully low maintenance and pest free as long as slugs and snails were kept at bay. We should be ready for a harvest before the risk of frost has passed for our usual seasonal growing outdoors in the garden.
My winter tomato experiments in the glasshouse are a still to be decided semi-success. The cool-climate variety we trialled this year grew far better than previous attempts. Shaking the plants to simulate natural outdoor movement helped with pollination and fruit set. But as of now, all of the tomatoes are still green. Perhaps we’ll be lucky with the warming weather. Perhaps not. Either way, it’s better than we’ve achieved in the past and we have more lessons learned for trying again next winter.
Seasonal Failures and Flop Crops
Our above-ground veggies are a bit of a flop due to erratic weather and other factors. Things like cauliflower and cabbages haven’t headed, although I haven’t yet pulled the pin on them to make way for the spring turn over. Perhaps they’ll surprise me with a late breaking performance.
Preparing for Spring and Seasons Ahead
The glasshouse is in full production mode with the winter experiments sharing shelter with the new spring seedlings, and I’ll update you on that in our spring recap. Elsewhere in the main garden, the early blossoms are getting things ready on their own for a hopefully good growing season through spring and into summer. The warmer crops are my favourites, and we’ll be trying to make the most of the space and growing conditions we have to grow extra crops this year for ourselves and for sharing.
Many people are feeling the pinch right now, and growing is an inexpensive way to supplement your groceries. Some plants thrive without much care at all if you don’t have time or a green thumb, and do well in containers as long as they get enough water if you’re short on space. For extra savings, some foods can be grown from saved seeds (pumpkins are one of my easy favourites) or sprouted from offcuts of purchased produce. I’ll share a post with growing and regrowing tips on the blog soon.
Humphrey shares my happiness at the arrival of warmer drier weather. Although the little lad is a big fan of carrots and is always happy to help with taste testing when I’m working in the winter garden. We recently celebrated his eighth birthday, and he continues to be the sunshine in our days.