Your Edible Winter Garden

Your winter garden may be under snow, drenched with rain, or blasted by winds, but it can still be both beautiful and productive. Here's how.

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Having a beautiful garden in winter is a matter of planning. Here are some tips which can help:

Plant selection

Taken Feb. 2013, Germany

Put in suitable plants for your area's hardiness zone.

If your area has periods of little snow cover with high winds, choose plants which are hardy to at least one zone below yours.

There are edible plants available in every zone which have parts that can be harvested during winter, with a bit of planning.

Choose where you plant so you'll be able to get to your plants after a snowstorm.

Looking at a short list of plants? These tips may help.

Choose evergreen perennials, shrubs, and trees which will provide interesting shapes during the winter months. This is especially important for those of you who get excessive amounts of snow during the winter.

Hardscape and decor

When the tender greenery is stripped away by the cold, having some sort of hardscape (walls, fences, planters, pathways, walkways, and so on) and garden decor can mean the difference between a boring, bare winter yard and one that's beautiful.

Imagine your yard without plants. Is it still beautiful? If not, install hardscape and garden decor which will add color and interest to your yard.

Special touches for your winter garden

There are a few items which might -- depending on your garden's location -- be worth considering for a beautiful and productive year round landscape:

  • Sturdy, well-constructed cold frames -- in hail-prone areas, these should be made of plexiglass or plastic rather than glass
  • A greenhouse or sun-room
  • Garden lighting which is tall enough to clear your usual snow level.

See more ideas to help protect your plants here.

Winter gardening in hot climates

Taken Aug. 24, 2014, Sydney, Australia

For those of you in very hot climates, winter is the prime growing season.

Take advantage of it!

If your area doesn't freeze, there are dozens of edible plants available to you, which may do better when planted in winter than in summer, even with lower light levels.

Take a look at plants which do well in shade or partial shade if your days are too short to get good growth with the usual long-day vegetables and fruits.

Do you have an edible winter garden?
Join our contest!

Best Winter Garden crown!

Here's how it works:

  • Each month, you may enter your home edible garden in our monthly contest.

There were no winter entries in the June or July contest.

Enter the August contest.

  • At the end of each season, all the gardens which are shared during the winter are eligible for prizes!

Entries are given points for:

  • Hardscape (walls, paths, walkways, etc)
  • Overall design
  • Whether the garden complements this house
  • Use of edible trees and shrubs
  • Use of edible perennials
  • Use of edible annuals
  • Curb appeal (Is the garden attractive?)
  • Photo quality (How good are the photos?)
  • How many edible garden photos you shared during the summer

Our Northern Hemisphere Best Winter Garden is from

Lynn Sterner - Los Osos, CA (US)

Lynn wins a copy of the DVD "The Greenhouse of the Future", a special crown to put on her website or blog, and a $5.00 USD gift certificate to the garden store of her choice.

Congratulations, Lynn!

The Southern Hemisphere Winter Garden winner will be announced September 1st!

What would you like to read about next? Here are some related pages:

Four season garden contest - Front yard photos

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