winter vegetable garden

To my surprise, growing vegetables in winter is easier than in summer. There aren’t as many pests, and I’ve hardly had to water them. I don’t want to jinx it by saying it out loud, but I think my little garden is a success. Here is some of my kale, Red Russian (purplish) and Lacinato (dark green).

I’ve started past vegetable gardens in my raised bed here mostly with seedlings, but these plants are mainly from seed. From front to back: Holy Basil, arugula, kale, rapini, lettuce, beets, peas. If you can fend off the slugs and snails until they get a start (thank you Sluggo and my headlamp), you are pretty much good to go. This bird netting that my brother-in-law gave me from his vineyards up in Los Gatos has warded off the deer that traipse through our yard every night (hoof prints in the gravel.) I open it during the day so the birds can visit (I learned that lesson last summer).

winter vegetable garden

I had to raise it higher since the snow and sugar peas have rocketed toward the sky in recent weeks. We’ve had almost a solid month of soupy, foggy weather, which they love.

winter vegetable garden


So far, we’ve mainly harvested the greens (kale, lettuces and rabini), and are waiting for everything else. Even if we didn’t get to eat some of this produce, I would still love watching it grow and bloom.

 I take that back. There’s nothing like peas off the vine.

winter vegetable garden


Instead of trying for perfect rows, I scatter planted my beets and threw in some lettuce seed. Seems to be working out well so far. Not sure when to pull the beets, but it’s probably time to thin them out a bit. I know the beet greens are delicious, too.



 I have trouble picking things when they are so lush and beautiful. Not sure I would make a good farmer, after all. (I have been plucking the kale for my famous health smoothies.)

winter vegetable garden


The Holy Basil, or tulsi, is still going strong, and the bees, too. (Did you know it’s supposed to have all these healing benefits?) I enjoy listening to their happy buzzing–in December!

winter vegetable garden


This rapini has been a wonder. Mine is just starting to flower and form tiny heads. I gave up on other cruciferous vegetables, like cauliflower and regular brocolli, since they are hard to grow. Rapini has a slightly bitter flavor, and you can eat the blossom, stem and leaves. It’s great in the right dishes. I made this Rapini and Pasta dish from Smitten Kitchen and it was simple and scrumptous.


winter vegetable garden

 If you live in a place with mild winters, I would encourage you to grow some winter produce. It makes you feel like you know what you are doing! And I’ve also found that tending vegetables offers the perfect antidote to the holiday fervor.







4 Responses to A Winter Garden: The Perfect Respite from the Holidaze

  1. Wow!I’m so impressed. My garden is in a bit of disarray. I think the snails are munching on my greens. But I still have peppers…lots of them. And I actually got 6 raspberries from a bush I thought was dead. Great post!

  2. Mamaholt says:

    WOW! Your garden looks amazing! Did you post about building that gorgeous raised bed? I’d like to read that. I had no idea about the health benefits of Holy Basil…fascinating. We just lost our basil last night with the first freeze. I had left it bolting for the bees. Broccoli is easy to grow here for some reason. My peas are doing well, not as good as yours…we’re in another god awful drought. Wish I’d planted Rapini. boo.

  3. dustin says:

    I think that basil is African blue….

  4. Julie says:

    fantastic Janine, really impressive, you earth mother:)

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