In the r/gardening subreddit, one user shared a photo of their beautiful, lush green garden –– grown in the middle of a Canadian winter, without electricity.
The structure holding the plants, a 4-by-8-foot raised cedar garden bed with a removable greenhouse-esque top, was hand built by the original poster.
Winter Gardening Fun. Passive Heating. Canada, Zone 6b.
by u/DadB0d_Dave in gardening
If you’re wondering how on earth it is possible to maintain this garden in below-freezing temperatures, you’re not alone. “My brain struggles with how this is possible,” writes one Redditor.
Luckily, the OP continues the conversation and shares their secrets to success in further comments. Keys to this garden’s survival are the OP’s research, plant selection, and adaptive protection for varying temperatures.
The user shares two experts whose books and winter gardening research they turned to for guidance –– Eliot Coleman and Niki Jabbour. They specifically recommend Coleman’s “The Winter Harvest Handbook” and Jabbour’s “The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener.”
They selected plants that had high cold tolerances such as kale, chard, and spinach. Noting that growth is far from rapid in the winter, they share that they collect from the garden every two or three weeks.
“I would not be able to grow new plants from seeds in there right now. I need to wait 1 more month for that. In summary, the goal is not to grow new plants in the winter, but to maintain fall crops.” writes the OP.
When temperatures get particularly low, they have two layers of protection for the plants –– plastic and row cover. On days when the sun is shining, they open the shelter up for only a few hours to make sure there is no heat loss.
This weatherproof winter gardening not only provides the opportunity to have homegrown produce all year long, but it also allows a chance for crops that thrive in the cold to be their absolute best.
The OP even shares that kale is much tastier if it has experienced frost. This is because the kale actually produces sugar to function as antifreeze.
Reddit users who have come across this post are inquisitive and encouraged.
“That’s awesome man, I’d love to try something like this,” writes one user.
“You and your garden are an inspiration to me, seriously,” writes another.
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