Most gardeners don’t utilize their backyard during the winter season because they don’t know what to grow. However, did you know that winter plants like spinach, kale, and escarole can actually do well in winter? In my career as a garden writer, I have come to know that it is possible to grow cold-hardy crops as much as other crops.
Well, the secret lies in using winter tunnels. For instance, spinach does well during the cold season because it increases its sugar content in the vasculature and this serves as an anti-freeze to protect it.
My Love for Plants
Well, my love for growing these plants, especially spinach did not start right away. Growing up, I didn’t enjoy eating vegetables, leave alone thinking of planting them. Yes, I was one of those kids whose parents had to scold for leaving vegetables on their plates. As a child, I just could not stomach the taste of green vegetables including kale, escarole, and spinach.
However, when I was in high school, I started to open my mind to eating these vegetables. This is because I was inspired to live an enhanced lifestyle and live sustainably. This means that I had to change my diet and eat less. Truly, this is also what urged me to enter the world of gardening.
Kale and Spinach Are Good for Weight-Loss
I did my research just so I could motivate myself to grow these green vegetables. It turns out, kale and spinach are good for weight loss and the immune system. Escarole, along with kale and spinach, has low calories, which means I can munch on them and not worry about eating too much. I have also learned how healthy these vegetables are.
They are rich in fiber, calcium, vitamin A, amongst many other benefits. As for spinach, I found out that it can combat cancer, is good for my eyes, and has several anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, my husband and children enjoy eating these vegetables and this was enough motivation to plant and grow them in my own backyard.
Hard for Beginners
I must admit that the process of growing these vegetables is pretty hard for a beginner. I have started the hobby for myself, and this is growing my kale, spinach, and escarole. It is such a joy growing these plants. Now eating them is that much more enjoyable. There is something about growing your food that makes that much more gratifying and satisfying.
Growing them is fun but challenging, and I would never have thought that I would come this far. I started with escarole, and then as I was eating the first harvest that I felt a sense of achievement. A week after that, I started planting my kale and spinach as well. What started as a small hobby ended up to somewhat of a garden.
I Made Winter Tunnels
I even made winter tunnels which I covered with several layers of winter fabric to help keep my escarole, spinach, and kale safe in the winter. I covered them with several layers of fabric and then a greenhouse plastic on top of the layers.
Research shows that growing winter greens in low tunnels allows them to grow as much as they would in greenhouses. Not only do these tunnels moderate temperature but also protect your greens from snow and ice.
During the winter season, it is harder since I have to do a lot more. It is hard work, but for me, it seems pretty nice since I love what I do. It’s not like I haven’t got any problems growing them. Also, it is good to note that the growth of your greens may be slowed during this time because of the temperature and lack of adequate sunlight.
I don’t have to worry about the winter since my winter tunnels do a good job of keeping them safe. What’s more, I have a separate bed dedicated to cabbage and I have covered them with few floating layers of winter fabric to help them survive the cold.
These Vegetables Are a Treat for Rodents
And sometimes, a plant or two gets eaten up. I have taken some measures to prevent this. Currently, my solution is by spraying anti-rat sprays on them. I am not fond of using chemicals on my vegetables. Maybe sometime soon, I will raise a cat. I have been doing some research, and it turns out cats are very effective and keeping rodents away from my plants. I have also started making adjustments to the fences to keep those rodents away.
These past years, I had no idea that I would come to love eating, let alone growing, these vegetables that I used to hate so much when I was a kid. Life is unpredictable, I guess. You will never know what you’ll end up with. I have no regrets about my experiences with kale, spinach, and escarole. Not only do I enjoy making them a part of my diet but I also love growing them as well.