I get that look a lot. The one where people are being kind when I prattle on about growing food under several feet of snow, with no greenhouse, no heaters, on the top of a mountain somewhere in the Virginia Appalachian Mountains. They're being kind to my face, and inside they are trying to measure up how crazy I am. Surely it's some sort of witch craft, defying the seasons? But, am I actually defying the seasons, or just your perception of them? Let's walk back in time through it.
It's mid January. I have my really thick winter robe on, and my hard soled slippers that I technically did not buy to walk around outdoors in, but its 9pm and another late dinner needs something green. Just out front, under a thin layer of row cover held up with some 9 gauge wire hoops, are countless clusters of ice-kissed greens. By lantern light, I carefully snip leaves of chard, kale, collards, some green onions, and a few mustard leaves, being careful not to rustle the tender, frozen leaves too much.
Did you think our ancestors just ran down to the corner mart all winter, and didn't see a fresh vegetable 5 months out of the year? Of course not! What I am doing in my garden all winter is hardly my own invention, it is merely a reawakening of times gone by, when this knowledge was a common and necessary skill. It is my goal to teach as many people as possible how to feed themselves and their families throughout the winter with fresh, nutrient rich food.
Winter garden planning is a year round process for me, but it doesn't have to be. You can casually start as late as August with a few store bought transplants from any big box store or local nursery. I will make tons of basic pointers available for free, and am also launching a paid course starting in July. The paid course will offer live step-by-step instructions on when, how, and why to plant your winter crops. I hope you will take in as much knowledge as you can from me, as a foundation to build up even more gardening skills.