Only Jack Frost’s incompatibility affects the choice of edibles that can be companion planted with a winter landscape. So, become aware of your area’s cool weather vegetable planting strategies.
Because winter soil and air temperatures vary according to geographic location, planting zone as well as back yard micro-climatic conditions, identify the parameters for an edible groundcover planting. Generally speaking, broccoli, cauliflower and the entire group of crops in the cool season family – lettuce, onion, parsnip and spinach – seeds germinate in soil temperatures as low as 35o F. Seeds for other vegetable favorites such as cabbage, carrots and celery germinate in soil temperature as low as 40o F. All of these vegetables, and more, have the potential of being suitability for a winter landscape.
A few ‘tried and proven’ personal favorites can be obtained through The Cooks’ Garden located in Pennsylvania and Renee’s Garden located in California. One option is Cook’s Garden carrot custom five variety blend. The fern-like leaf structure lends a soft green texture to the landscape and underlying ready to pick yellow, orange or white carrots provide an ongoing array of edible vegetables. Another option, a year round lettuce collection, also provides seasonal leaf color as well as ready to pick salad mixtures.
As a hands-on gardener, I’ve found Renee’s Garden products to work-well for my central Virginia garden. As a developer of seeds, Renee is viewed an a pioneering innovator in introducing vegetable, flower and herb choices for gardeners and gourment restaurants. While the choice of quality suppliers can seem endless, I have found two others, D. Landreth Seed Company located in Pennsylvania and the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange located in Mineral Virginia that work-well for me. Both vendors participate in Virginia horticulture events such as the Heritage Harvest Festival held at the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants and have outstanding lines of heirloom seed choices.
As you progress into the spring season, evaluate your landscape. It is never too late to add interest and color. Evaluate the underlying structural elements and then, if necessary, adjust the hardscape. Next, evaluate the design’s expanded use of trees and shrubs. And, finally, focus on the installation of seasonal surprise elements: a colorful edible landscape. Make your landscape more than an eye-pleasing winter design, a garden that consists of traditional plants. Make it edible!
As gardeners, we not only have opportunities to make a difference through personal choices but can influence others through our use of green space, both rural and urban. For additional eco tips and strategies, visit web site The Wright Scoop.
The Cooks’ Garden, www.cooksgarden.com, 800-457-9703
Renee’s Garden, www.reneesgarden.com , 888-880-7228
D. Landreth Seed Company, www.landrethseeds.com, 800-654-2407
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, www.southernexposure.com, 540-894-9480
ThomasJefferson Centerfor Historic Plants, www.heritageharvestfestival.com.