What Can I Plant in Winter?
There are so many plants you can plant in winter in Oklahoma. February is a busy month for spring plantings. Check out the OSU extension chart for what goes in the ground from Feb 10-March 10. There are quite a few things on that list. If you are not in Oklahoma, check your local county extension office to find out what you should be planting at that time.
Now is the time to find plants, seeds, and seedlings you may want to plant in winter if you are planning to have a spring garden. At Little Sprouts, we had a really good fall planting, but our winter has proven much colder than usual and has frozen most of what we were overwintering. We’ll be starting over in a month or so. Click here to see how to plan your garden.
What in the world can I plant in winter?
Since it’s almost time to get these things in the ground, it’s time to look for where you are going to purchase your products from. Watch the blog for when/where are good places to order seeds in a few days. We’ll be talking about what we like to do.
Do you traditionally think about planting time being in summer or around May? Many things go in the ground at that time, but there are plenty of things you can plant in winter. In Oklahoma, our spring and fall are so incredibly short, you have to start early to get any cool season crops to grow. If you have your plants well established in April, you’ll get a good Spring harvest before the heat comes barreling into your garden and cooks up all your plants.
You can plant onions in winter. Plants or seeds can go into the ground any time after the first week in February. This will give your onions time to take hold before it warms up. Plant onions from seed or sets. Onion sets are tiny onion plants that come kind of dry. They are dormant. Once you put them in the ground, they come back to life. I have much better luck with sets than seeds, but many people plant from seed. You can plant them in a flat inside and grow them under a light until it’s time to set them out in the garden. Essentially, you’re growing your own sets.
When you plant onion sets, make sure not to plant them too deeply. You just want the roots to be in the ground with enough dirt to make sure they stand up. If you plant them too deeply, they won’t develop into nice big onions. I finally learned that last year.
White or Irish potatoes are another crop you plant in winter. Potatoes will not grow in temperatures above 80 degrees. Once the soil gets to that temperature, your potatoes will begin to rot. The earlier the better. Many wives’ tales say to plant by St. Patrick’s Day and harvest before the 4th of July. Over time, temperatures have somewhat risen. I have had a ton better luck planting and harvesting earlier.
I try to plant my white potato eyes around the middle of February. If we get a hard freeze, the greens may die back, but it does not affect the potato underground. Click here to see more about how to grow potatoes.
Note, that sweet potatoes are planted much later than white potatoes.
It’s best to cut your potatoes into chunks and let them cure for a week or so before you plant them. You will find you get more potatoes to harvest if you do it that way.
If you’re looking for top quality heirloom seeds, I recently found this awesome family run company that has been hand saving seeds for generations. I LOVE knowing those seeds are from high quality sources. Click the image below to check them out!
Cole crops are planted in winter. Cole crops include things like broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, kale and cabbage. If you’ve never heard of kohlrabi, click here to check it out. The growing instructions for it are the same as for all these other Cole crops. Cole crops should be planted as plants between February 10th and March 10th. If you’d like to plant from seed, start them indoors under a light in December so you’ll have your own plants.
Carrots can be sown as seed early as well. The seeds are very small, so you may want to mix them with sand and sprinkle them along the ground. Then sprinkle a fine layer of soil over the top and keep them watered. Carrots are notoriously difficult to germinate, so don’t give up. The only thing that will cause them to fail is heat. If you plant during the warm season, the seeds will go dormant and not sprout.
Lettuce is another direct seed crop to plant in winter. The seeds are also very small like carrots, so care should be taken to get them distributed properly. Lettuce is fairly cold hardy and can sometimes be grown all winter long in Oklahoma. This year, that’s not the case as we have seen unusual temperatures below zero. We don’t see that often here. Lettuce can be planted as seed or plants.
Peas are a great winter crop. They also happen to be one of my very favorite things to grow and eat. My kids love the sweet, delicious treats. To me, peas are like candy. We love to eat them straight off the vines outside. If we are lucky enough to get some in the house, we devour them. Peas are planted as seeds. They don’t particularly care for being transplanted. Also, they need something to climb on.
Spinach is a great winter crop. Spinach really likes temps to be cool. When it gets too warm, spinach, radishes, carrots, and lettuce will bolt. Bolting means the plants will set flowers and seed. If your vegetables bolt, you can harvest the seeds to use, but the food itself will be very bitter. The plant takes the energy away from making flavorful food and puts it all into reproduction of the seed, leaving the plant tough, woody, and not tasty.
Radishes are one of the most fun things to plant. They have fairly big seeds for kids to handle, and they germinate super-fast. Within a few days, you’ll have radish seedlings growing in your garden. They only take 3-4 weeks to mature into edible vegetables. This is great when growing with kids. Instant gratification. I have not found more than one or two kids that like to eat radishes, BUT, kids LOVE to grow them. It shows them what will happen with all of your other crops. This seed is going to turn into FOOD. Radishes are a great starter for new kids in the garden (or new grown ups).
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If you ever thought you couldn’t grow in winter, you’re in for a big treat. There are so many things you can plant fairly soon. It’s time to pull out your catalogs and troll the stores for some great products to plant in your garden.
Growing food is so much fun!
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