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Can You Grow Fresh Vegetables in Winter?

How do you grow fresh produce from the
garden in the middle of winter? (music playing) (music playing) (music playing) That’s how! Everyone can enjoy fresh
locally grown produce in the winter months let’s explore where
that tasty spinach salad came from and how it
was grown. Right now I am standing in a high tunnel which is being used to grow vegetables
in the middle of winter. As we began to build this high tunnel I will admit I was really intimidated by
the logistics at the whole construction
process, but as it turned out a high tunnel is the
really simple structure to build. Together local foods educator Kyle
Cecil and I – we built this high tunnel from scratch. And the total construction time was only two – eight hour days. If you think a the structure like a high
tunnel would be outrageously expensive think again we built our high tunnel
spending only four hundred dollars. If you don’t want to go through the
hassle of tracking down the very minimal amount of parts that you need to
construct a high tunnel you can actually order
kits online that come with all the materials you need to assemble a
fully functional high tunnel. If having a high tunnel is a little bit beyond your scope then
there are many more smaller devices and materials that you can use to extend
the growing season well into the colder months of the year. Perhaps a low tunnel, or a cold frame, or just the simple layer
of row cover fabric would be more well suited to your yard.
All these plus high tunnels are devices for season extension. Now what is the big difference between a
greenhouse you might be asking? Well in a greenhouse setting there’s
usually some type of supplemental heat source whereas in any type of season extension
device the only source a heat is the Sun. Obviously, we’re not growing tomatoes and
peppers in the high tunnel during the winter months, but we are growing cool season vegetables like
lettuce and bok choi. My favorite crops that I’ve
discovered this winter growing in the high tunnel have actually been spinach and carrots. Why is this? Well, the colder temperatures
actually concentrate the sugars in the plant leading to much sweeter
produce. Carrots harvested in the winter are
actually called candied carrots because of their
heightened sweet flavor. If you’re interested in extending the season in your garden then University of Illinois
Extension has tons of resources at your disposal. I’ll put links to them in the
description below. And as always keep on growing and thanks for watching.

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