Holiday Hibernation

Winter brings short, colder days and our gardens enter an extended hibernation period. Just like our favorite critters seek warmth and shelter and hoard those acorns, we also want to equip our gardens with the necessities to survive and thrive.  As our learning gardens have entered their holiday hibernation, we thought this would be a good time to share some ideas on the best way to winterize your garden. There are many ways to keep your garden growing all winter long, but it is important to keep it protected and cozy. Gardens are just like us- add a warm cozy sweater, a nice refreshing beverage, and warm place to stay and they are good to go.

Here are three ways to keep things growing:

1. Provide protection of some kind:

In our learning gardens, we use bendable skinny PVC pipes as hoops and place remay cloth over the hoops to act as a layer of protection from the harsh Richmond weather.

2. Harvest

Make sure to harvest what you’ve grown in the garden and what is ready to be picked. Rotting vegetables can attract pests of all kinds to the garden, but can also be a pain to get rid of when you discover their destruction in the spring. Take the time now to enjoy what is still growing and to periodically check for items that are ready for harvest.

3. Ground cover!

Keep the moisture in by placing leaves on around your crops. The City of Richmond is not offering leaf collection this year unless leaves are in bags so ask a neighbor if you can use some of their leaves as well. Leaves will keep the moisture and warmth in and act like a comfy sweater for the roots.



Winter Storage Salad 

Toss together a simple warm winter salad with what’s growing in the garden or what you can find at any market.

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 3 medium parsnips
  • 1 bag thawed frozen corn (or two cans of corn)

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  1. Shred the sweet potatoes and parsnips using a box grater. Then add the corn to the root vegetables.
  2. Make the dressing by mixing the ingredients in a jar with a lid and giving it a good shake!
  3. Toss everything together and enjoy!