Friday, December 23, 2022

What to plant in the December edible garden

Newly sprouted greens inside portable greenhouse
Friday, December 23, 2022 

You can still plant outdoors for the edible garden in December.  What you are planting in December may not germinate quickly.  Growth will restart in mid January when daylight hours get back to 10 hours.  Keep your edibles under cover to encourage germination and to extend the harvest all the way through to spring.  
What is a four season garden?
You can garden year round in small space
Planning for a four season garden

This month you can sow more greens, carrots, and herbs in the greenhouse.  You can also transplant trees and shrubs and even spring bulbs as long as the soil is workable.   Midwest Perennial Vegetable Garden

Here are the crops you can start outdoors in the December Midwest edible garden:

December seeds outdoors
Austrian winter peas-will sprout in early spring
Spinach seeds-will sprout in early spring
Snow peas-will sprout in early spring

December seeds under cover
Sprouting Broccoli
Corn salad
Lettuce, Winter Hardy types
Mustard and Mustard Greens
Parsley and Parsley Root
Swiss Chard

December transplants
Trees and bushes until ground freezes

Look for cold hardy varieties when planting for winter growing and harvests.  You will be surprised to harvest all through the winter months things like greens, onions, Austrian peas, carrots, and cabbage when you get them started in the fall.  You can also extend the harvest by looking for the same crop with different days to harvest timing so that they mature at different times.  For those you are seeding now, they will provide your late winter and early spring harvests.  

 Winter planted crops take longer to come to sprout and grow than they do in the spring.  It's because the days are getting shorter rather than longer and the temperatures are falling.  Winter solstice (the shortest day of the year was December 21) so daylight will be getting longer now.  Just be patient, the seeds will sprout when conditions are right.  Growth is very slow at this point as the daylight hours are less than 10 and temperatures are cold.  In my area, we will get back to 10 hours of daylight on January 20.  Growth will pick up in late January.  

To keep plants producing, keep them covered.  The biggest risk with covers is the plants overheating.  Full sun can raise the temperatures by 50 degrees.  Keep this in mind and give ventilation when the temperatures are getting up into the 50's with nice sunshine.
Window open on portable greenhouse
Window open on portable greenhouse

If you are using a row cover, they should be in place now.  I put mine in place when the temperatures are getting into the low 20's at night.  Your plants are safe from overheating as long as the temperatures don't get into the upper 50's with the full sun.  When temperatures are that warm, just open the ends of the row cover and close back up when the temperatures are forecasted back into the 20's or colder.

The same goes for greenhouses. I have my edible greens covered by my portable greenhouse with the "windows" open to vent when it gets into the 50's.  You can use cover to extend the harvest all the way to next spring.  Extend the season with protection for plants  Homegrown, organic salads in a Midwest winter

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