Winter Planning & Planting

The wind is blowing, the snow is falling, the plants are growing… Wait, the plants are growing? During the winter, you can grow delicious early-season vegetables and get a head start on your spring garden. Here’s a month-by-month rundown of winter planning and planting.

January

is the time to plan this year’s garden. Start by asking yourself what you want to grow- tomatoes? Carrots? Kohlrabi? How many plants of each variety do you need to grow for your needs? Next, develop a planting map and schedule. Where and when do these need to be planted? Do you want to start seeds of cold-sensitive plants indoors or buy plants from a local nursery? Plan your garden, buy your seed, and start dreaming of fresh sun-ripened veggies. For more details on planning a garden, click here.

 

February

is when we start getting our hands dirty! Once the ground is thawed, it’s time to plant peas, garlic bulbs, shallots, grape vines, and fruit trees and shrubs.

 

A Note on Peas:

The old-timers say you should plant your peas on Valentine’s day for an early, tender crop. The seed companies say you should plant them four to six weeks before the last frost. (The last frost in Hindman, Kentucky is May 1 for USDA Zone 6, find your zone and last frost date here.) The truth is, you can plant your peas as soon as the ground is thawed. They won’t germinate until the soil temperature reaches 45°F. Until then, they will be safe planted in the ground (unless some mischievous squirrels find them). After the peas germinate, the young plants are cold-hardy unless the temperature falls into the teens for a few days straight. If that happens, be prepared to plant again.

 

March

is when planting begins in earnest. Along with planting fruit trees and shrubs and grape vines, you can direct-sow broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach in early March. By mid-March, you can sow greens such as lettuce, kale, cabbage, and arugula and root vegetables such as beets, turnips, and carrots. Other vegetables you can plant in March include asparagus, kohlrabi, leeks, mustard, onions, parsnips, potatoes, and Swiss chard.

 

If you grow tomatoes and peppers from seed, start these indoors mid-March so they are ready to plant outdoors in May.

 

If you’re in the Knott County area, come to our seed swap on Tuesday, January 22 at 6 PM to exchange seeds with other local gardeners. The swap is located at the Mike Mullins Cultural Heritage Center at the Hindman Settlement School, 51 Center Street Hindman, KY.

About the Author:

Ali Hintz is the Community Agriculture Coordinator VISTA at the Hindman Settlement School in Hindman, KY.

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