As Fall progresses in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest, we begin to focus on what is commonly termed “The Smile.” This phrase comes out of the feed and ag business where the geography from Seattle through California and then into Texas, across the Southeast and up into the Maryland area is seen as a great place for Winter gardening & production – whether livestock, second crops of popular commodities (such as wheat) and gardening.
When the weather begins to cool, too many traditional gardeners begin to think about next year (we could tell stories about Minnesota gardeners and their fixation on Labor Day as the end of the growing season while the team at Eco Garden Systems has a “GardenHack” for growing into November and winter gardening), we have found that if you live in The Smile and you have an Eco Garden Systems’ garden, you can grow almost anything you want all year long. All it takes is a little bit of “want to” (Winter is a season practiced almost everywhere – even when the weather rarely approaches freezing), the right choices for plants to grow, a way to keep your soil warmer (did you know that by having a Water Reservoir – like our gardens do – you can actually keep your soil warmer?) and a plan for those frost emergencies.
One of our heroes – Nick Federoff of #ThingsGreen has told us how his Eco Garden (Nick has two of our Original Gardens) just keeps growing and growing – even during the fallow Winter period. This shows two things…
- Nick is in the LA area and Winter gardening is a real thing – especially with an Eco Garden
- Plants we see as annuals here in Minnesota can actually perform like perennials and grow and bloom again in the Winter (Kale, some runner beans, some varieties of peppers, rhubarb, kale, garlic, etc.)
In very warm places – like Texas, Georgia and Florida – some home gardeners wait until fall to start their gardening. Summer heat and humidity are not always veggie friendly and sometimes not very gardener friendly. This means that while “Spring” gardening in Minnesota begins in May, in Florida, September may be the month folks kick off their gardening activities. Did you know that bowling – a Winter sport in Minnesota – is often a summer past-time in places like Arizona, Texas and Florida? We do it due to it being too cold for many outdoor activities and they do it for the same but opposite reason – it may be too warm for outdoor activities.
Winter Gardening in Communities
Anyway, back to gardening. If you are looking for a way to #GardenDifferent and you live in a “Smile” state or location, perhaps an Eco Garden is for you. If you are a school or a senior center where “Winter” is when you want to engage in outdoor gardening then we are a great way to build activities, teach healthy eating habits and begin to cultivate the love of fresh vegetables. To learn more, check out our School and Senior Center sections of our web site (make sure you check out the links to our E-Magazines):
While we can’t guarantee you will have the same success during the months when the sun is lower in the sky as we have during high summer in the Upper Midwest, we have seen a lot of great results in “Smile” states with our gardens. Who wouldn’t take the opportunity to become a year-round gardener? That is one of the reasons we built our gardens – so you can start earlier and garden later – even if you might need a little help from a #GardenHack every now and then.
Keep winter gardening!