This year, winter was much colder and longer than we’ve ever experienced in our garden, which allowed us to plant and harvest so many cold-weather crops!

Winter gardening is easy and so much fun! Root crops grow well in our sandy soil and the cold weather means less insect pressure and fewer plant issues. Plus, there’s something really satisfying about pulling turnips, beets, radishes, and carrots out of the ground.

We grew purple broccoli and it was so fascinating to watch how quickly a few leaves of cabbage grew into a massive ball. 

cabbage!

But, I think our winter gardening is coming to an end. The weather forecast shows a low of 51 degrees and a high of 84 degrees for the next 10 days. Each week we are seeing higher highs and higher lows.

Historically, we could possibly have another frost…but, I decided to risk it and we started planting warm-weather crop seeds. 

We planted squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, peppers, beans, watermelon, and lots of flowers for a cut-flower garden.

If the weather continues to stay cold, the warm weather crops will grow slower (which could lead to rot), or, if we have another frost the sensitive sprouts will freeze and die. But, I’m willing to figure out how to keep them warm if I have to…so I’m going for it.  

I start my seeds on the back patio so I can keep a close eye on them. Then, once they sprout I move them outside for some sunshine. I water them from my rain barrel with a fish tank pump and keep them on the upper racks so the chickens can’t get to them.

Last Frost Date

Frost dates are simply estimates of when the last chance of frost can occur in your area, based on historical climate data. These dates vary from place to place. 

Statistically, there is a 30% chance that you will incur a frost before or after your final frost date. 

Look up your average frost dates here

The Chickens

Now that the chickens are old enough and the days are a little longer, they are laying in full force! We are averaging about a dozen eggs a day! 

Chickens are really beneficial to have in a garden. Their constant scratching makes excellent compost and they eat lots of bugs…but, they also dig up my garden beds and poop all over the place.  It’s a constant struggle, but we’ve always had chickens and love having them. 

We have hatched many chicks, built many coops and collected hundreds (thousands?) of eggs over the years.  As fun as it has been, we’ve also learned some tough life lessons. We’ve lost many chickens to predators, we’ve been chased by aggressive roosters, and shoveled quite a bit of chicken manure. But, it’s so worth it. 

In preparation for spring, we had a truckload of soil delivered from Rockledge Gardens! I threw a few handfuls of birdseed in it so the chickens can help spread it out. Over the next few weeks, I’ll use it for potting up plants and transplanting seedlings into the yard.

I’m so excited about spring, and I hope you are too!!

If you want to learn more about how you can grow your own food too, join me on February 25th for my biggest and best Grow your own Food seminar yet!! It will be online and in person! See my website for more info. 

Have an awesome February!! 

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