This site is an archive of For the latest information about Susy and her adventrures, visit the Cultivate Simple site.
Thank you for all your support over the years!

The Winter Garden

December 29th, 2011

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about what’s going on out in the gardens of Chiot’s Run. We’ve had a fairly mild winter so far, although the ground is starting to freeze. We woke up with a dusting of snow on the ground yesterday morning and temperatures dipping down into the low twenties. I have a few overwintering items this year, not as much as usual since I was gone in August when most of them should have been planted.

There are leeks that will be harvested soon and most likely be used in potato soup. I’m trying to eat up all the potatoes before they start to sprout in the basement. There’s also a ton of kale. A few years ago I planted ‘Red Russian’ kale and each year I let a plant go to seed in the summer, which provides me with enough kale plants that pop up around the garden to last us through the winter. I also have some ‘Rainbow Lacinato’ kale growing in a raised bed in the back, it’s quite beautiful with its deep dark purple and green leaves that have only gotten more beautiful now that winter has arrived!

There are also a few other greens like lettuce, spinach and arugula. I have found through some trials that ‘Catalina’ spinach from Renee’s Garden overwinters much better than many of the other spinach varieties I’ve tried. I’m also trying some ‘Even Star Winter’ arugula this year as well since arugula is one of my favorite greens. There are a few random lettuces left in the garden that were seeded with the little dibs and dabs that remained in a few old seed packets, this red lettuce sprung up from one of those!

There are a few other random things growing, like some Japanese bunching onions, which grow all year long multiplying slowly. They provide green onions all year long, but especially in winter. I use them for making kimchi and cooking.

There’s not quite as much going on as usual in my winter garden, someday I hope to have a lot more going on including a big hoop house. Each year I learn more and more and with each experimentation.

What’s growing in your garden? Anything making it to you plate?

19 Comments to “The Winter Garden”
  1. Mich on December 29, 2011 at 6:49 am

    The only veggies making it out of the garden and on to the plate are leeks, brussel sprouts, purple sprouting and some cabbages…
    Oh and I still have masses of parsley as we havent really had a harsh enough frost to zap it yet!

    Reply to Mich's comment

  2. daisy on December 29, 2011 at 7:35 am

    I’ve got one tomato plant, some thyme, rosemary, carrots and have started some lettuce seeds. Your kale looks quite photogenic!

    Reply to daisy's comment

  3. KimH on December 29, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Nothing usable growing here.. your photos are great!

    Reply to KimH's comment

  4. Fawn on December 29, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Great photo of the kale! We don’t each much kale here. What is your favorite way to prepare it?

    Reply to Fawn's comment

  5. Kathi Cook on December 29, 2011 at 9:19 am

    I don’t overwinter anything yet, but I still have parsley and sage.

    Reply to Kathi Cook's comment

  6. Melissa on December 29, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Last nite was our first really cold nite- it’s actually 27 degrees in SC this morning! I harvested a ton of broccoli yesterday! I’ve got some of that rainbow lacinto kale and it’s gorgeous and so good! My first year growing kale- Love it- won’t ever be without it! I’ve got a good bit of snap peas and a few english peas and a little lettuce- need to reseed my lettuce!

    Can’t wait– today I get to start some seeds for Spring! Going to sow onions, more swiss chard and kale and a few others!

    Reply to Melissa's comment

  7. Erika on December 29, 2011 at 9:26 am

    We haven’t planted anything though we still have parsley and some other herbs growing away.

    We tried a recipe last night with leeks it was very good. I wanted to try something different besides soup with them and this worked wonderfully. The recipe calls for Salmon but we used tilapia and after eating I think it could be used for venison, but the meat would need to be cooked differently than the fish.

    Heres the link to the recipe we tried and loved.


    Reply to Erika's comment

  8. Jennifer Fisk on December 29, 2011 at 9:56 am

    I still have beets in my garden and fear they may not have survived the freezing and thawing we’ve been experiencing. It was 50 on Tues and 3 this morning. The wild turkeys ate my kale and brussels sprouts.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

  9. songbirdtiff on December 29, 2011 at 10:20 am

    I only have Kale overwintering, and there are a few lettuce and carrot leftovers. Inside I have my big pot of mint and a begonia. I love seeing the begonia blooms in the middle of winter!

    Reply to songbirdtiff's comment

  10. tj on December 29, 2011 at 10:33 am

    …I got nothing. This summer and fall got away from me and so the whole garden is currently sleeping. I’m already counting down the days to Spring altho’ I do love Winter. Yeah, I’m weird like that. *giggle*shrug* :o)

    …As always, lovely photos!

    …Hope you & Mr. Chiots are enjoying your “bonding” time. Get it? “Bonding” time, James “Bond”? *giggle* You had to be here. ;o)

    …Blessings. :o)

    Reply to tj's comment

    • Susy on December 29, 2011 at 12:47 pm

      Bonding time for sure, we didn’t get to watch a movie last night because we were at a community meeting, but we watched 2 on Tuesday night!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  11. Diana Holly on December 29, 2011 at 10:40 am

    We have some carrots and leeks. I had all but given up on the cauliflower I had planted in the fall. I was late getting it into the ground, but we’ve had a mild winter thus far here in the metro DC area. I checked the plants yesterday and found two small heads! We covered them last night when the temps dropped into the low 20s. I’m hoping to push them just a little longer, but even if we only get two bites, they will be my first successful cauliflower plants.

    Reply to Diana Holly's comment

  12. Maybelline on December 29, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Lettuce, onions (green), broccoli, cabbage, beets, chives, carrots

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

  13. Liz J on December 29, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    I have nothing growing in my garden right now :( but I do have a bedraggled Thyme barely hanging on in my walkway garden. I am looking forward to CISA’s Winter Fare in Northampton, MA on the 14th. We went last year and got some wonderful items….that I am unfortuntely not growing or storing here at the moment. Fresh spinach, Atlas potatoes and grass fed beef, very local ham too. Right up my alley :) I am thinking of a covered row next year for Winter greens ~ that and the size of the garden this year entirely depends on finding a new job and the hours involved. I’m in God’s hands!

    Reply to Liz J's comment

  14. Rick on December 29, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    We have kale, mache, claytonia and carrots in the cold frames right now, along with some chard and spinach that won’t be ready to eat for a while yet. We did have lettuce but the temps just got too cold for it and it finally died about 10 days ago.

    Reply to Rick's comment

  15. kellie on December 29, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    It’s summer here in Australia so we are bursting with fruit and veg. We had rain last night to fill up the tanks which was great as today would have been the first day I would of had to use the mains water in the garden. Feels so much better when you have rainwater in your tanks.

    Reply to kellie's comment

  16. roxanne shea on December 30, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    I just picked the Brussel sprouts to blanch and freeze, mine never grow to a large size, but good anyway.I have a little hobby green house , not heated at the moment. It has parsley ,chinese cabbage,alpine strawberry,carrots,swiss chard,a few onions,lettuce. As a experiment I have cabbage,spinach,lettuce, under plastic covered wood pallet A-frames to see if it would grow.It’s cold now in Connecticut, I’ll watch to see what does well. But I’m not as motivated in winter.I have chives, chinese cabbage and oregano ,in the house. Peas were lovely to look at , but only got a handful .Best Wishes Roxy

    Reply to roxanne shea's comment

  17. George on January 8, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Just found your site. Will be spending a lot of time on your archives. I am in Delaware, Zone 7A and have built quite a few cold frames. So lettuces are aplenty, and arugula, tatsoi, pak choi and more. Please stop by to have a look. George

    Reply to George's comment

  18. Ronda Williams on January 24, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    I have swiss chard that I planted last year.. it just keeps coming up~also kale, beets, and raddichio and cauliflower. I hAd arugula, but my chickens got out and ate it all up.

    Reply to Ronda Williams's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

Read previous post:

This coming spring, Mr Chiots and I are headed down to Florida for a few weeks.  It's actually a work...