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How To Properly Carry Out Winter Sowing Of Vegetables And Green Crops For An Early Harvest
How To Properly Carry Out Winter Sowing Of Vegetables And Green Crops For An Early Harvest

Video: How To Properly Carry Out Winter Sowing Of Vegetables And Green Crops For An Early Harvest

Video: How To Properly Carry Out Winter Sowing Of Vegetables And Green Crops For An Early Harvest
Video: 5 Essential Greens for Year-Round Harvests 2023, November

We sow in autumn - we harvest the harvest in spring and summer

An agricultural practice such as sowing vegetables before winter has its advantages and, unfortunately, also its disadvantages.


Pros and cons of such sowing

It is clear that the advantages of this method of growing vegetable crops are: more free time in spring, since in the fall we have already planted or sown some of the plants; getting an early harvest that can be enjoyed at a time when it has just begun to form among neighbors.

It is also an opportunity to grow several crops on the same plot, because after the early harvest is removed, the plot will free up, and you can again plant plants with short daylight hours and fast growth, for example, radishes or salads. Or you can occupy an empty vegetable garden with green manure crops, which you can simply dig up later in the fall, thereby providing the plants with additional nutrition next year.

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However, the disadvantages of this method are quite serious. For example, it is very difficult to guess with the weather, and, therefore, with the time of winter sowing. Indeed, until now, even forecasters, alas, cannot say for sure what the next 4-6 days will wait for us. Autumn may drag on, or snow may fall out and fall on wet soil, which will lead to compaction of the substrate surface and, as a result, to difficulty in seed germination.

For some plants, winter sowing can be confusing. For example, beets, radishes, carrots, and onions may not form a root vegetable but begin to form an arrowhead and form seeds. The disadvantage lies in the longevity of storage of the crop, more precisely, in its timing, because, as you know, the harvests obtained from winter sowing are not stored at all.

When sowing in winter, it is often very difficult for gardeners, especially beginners, to determine the optimal timing. In the same region, winter can come in completely different ways, and it is also impossible to understand what it will be like - normal, cold or critically cold. The last years and the length of winter are questionable, as well as the answer to the question for gardeners is very important: will there be provocative thaws in the middle of winter or, much worse, at the very end?

There are often years when a sharp rise in temperature was observed in late February - early March, which could well have provoked seed germination, and after that the temperature usually drops sharply, which leads to the death of both seedlings and seedlings.

Sometimes winter does not come for a long time, an excessively warm autumn is observed, which also provokes seeds to germinate, and they will inevitably die in winter. Warm autumn can also provoke seeds to change biological orientation: seedlings will not form a root crop, but will form peduncles and give seeds. This is often seen during the warm autumn season in crops such as lettuce, carrots, radishes, onions and beets.

However, most of the disadvantages and problems that a gardener may encounter using podzimny crops can be leveled or completely eliminated. It happens that a simple shelter of the beds with spruce branches saves the situation and allows you to get early and tangible yields of vegetable crops. Therefore, I believe that you do not need to be afraid of winter crops, but if you are still afraid, then for the sake of experiment, you can sow only part of the seeds, occupying a certain area in the garden, and allocate the rest of it for traditional crops and planting in your zone.


And now let's go directly to the rules for winter sowing. And let's start with a list of crops intended for this. This list is not very long, but still there is plenty to choose from. For example, for winter sowing, the following are ideal: parsnips, carrots, celery, beets, dill, parsley, caraway seeds, sorrel and lettuce, as well as black onion and onion sets.

Seeds of crops such as leeks, spinach, fennel, sage and radishes are also quite suitable for sowing before winter. Sometimes, before winter, some of the roots of horseradish or tarragon are planted.

I would also like to say about potatoes. Everyone who grew it on their site saw plants that vegetated well, although they sprouted from those tubers that you inadvertently forgot in the fall. I want to note that this potato, unless it falls under return frosts, will certainly give an early harvest.

Moreover, my observations show that such plants are less susceptible to damage by the Colorado potato beetle. Given this fact, you can experiment with podzimny sowing of potatoes in this way. Of course, in a small area. And it is desirable to mulch the planting.

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Terms of winter sowing


When to do winter crops? The most optimal time is immediately after the onset of a stable cold period, sometimes accompanied by the first frost. In most regions of Russia, this period coincides with the end of September, or the beginning or middle of November.

In the southern regions, where winter comes later, the sowing dates are correspondingly shifted - to mid-November - early December. In cooler regions, on the contrary, winter comes earlier, therefore, seeds should also be sown earlier - in mid-August - early September. Usually, in the most favorable period for sowing, the temperature is kept at around + 3 … + 5 ° С.

The place for sowing should be chosen as the most well-lit in the summer and quickly warmed up in the spring. It should be an area where neither melt nor rainwater stagnates. It will be good if the garden bed is protected from the cold north wind, for example, by the wall of the house, by a section of the fence or by the crown of a tree located on the north side. The slopes are also suitable, but only with a southern orientation.

In low areas or where the groundwater level is close to the soil surface, the beds should be made slightly raised (about 20-25 cm). Higher beds (up to half a meter) are also allowed, for example, on soils that can be flooded with melt water. The ideal option is the beds 15-20 cm high, formed from light and sufficiently fertile soil.

Preparing the beds

Plots intended for sub-winter sowing must be prepared in advance. In the center of Russia, soil preparation should begin in September. To begin with, the soil is dug on a full bayonet of a shovel, then loosened and leveled with a rake until a homogeneous composition is obtained, without large clods. You can add humus or compost for digging.

If you have not done this before starting to dig the soil, then you can add organic matter before loosening. After the soil is leveled, you should shed the bed well. This will give a signal for the weeds to germinate, and they can be carefully removed by pulling out with a root. Then you will not waste time on this at the beginning of spring and calmly skip one or two weeding.

After everything is ready, your soil is clean, moist and even, you should start sowing. To begin with, form the grooves. They need to be made no more than five centimeters deep, of course, this value depends on the type of seeds of the sown crop.

After the grooves are made, a seed mixture must be prepared. Most often it is the fertile soil of the top layer or compost well rotted to a homogeneous mass.

Sitting down before winter

And now we start sowing. We do not soak the seeds (!) - this is important, since now we absolutely do not need their speedy germination. Seeds should be of better quality, without damage or signs of disease. The sowing itself, as already noted, is carried out at different depths, which depends on the type of culture. For example, for carrots and lettuce, the groove depth is 1-1.5 cm, for table beets - 2-2.5 cm, for black onions and dill for greens - 1.5-2 cm, for parsley - 2-2, 5 cm, for spinach 2.5-3.5 cm.

If you are going to plant onion onion bulbs, the diameter of which is up to 1.5 cm, then they should be planted to a depth of about 4-4.5 cm.

Separately, it should be said about leeks. It is sown in the fall in grooves with a depth of 9-10 cm, however, it is sprinkled only by 1.5-2 cm, and then covered with a layer of mulch. Mulch is needed for additional thermal insulation. However, in spring, with the arrival of heat, it must be removed, this will allow the soil to warm up faster. Then, as the onion plants develop, you just need to add nutrient soil to the groove, leveling it with the soil level on the site.

I would like to draw your attention to one more culture - celery. Its seeds are very small, so you should not cover them with soil too much. In general, it is better not to use the soil for these purposes, but sprinkle the seeds with compost or peat. In warmer regions, the soil is not taken at all, but the seeds are covered with snow. Remember that deeply buried celery seeds will most likely not sprout at all.

Radish - it is sown both in strict rows in grooves, or simply scattered over the surface of the loosened soil and throw a little compost or nutrient soil on top. Radishes can also be sown where you decided to plant potatoes before winter. Such a simple agricultural technique will allow you to first harvest radish, and then early potatoes.

In cool regions with harsh winters, after sowing, the beds can be additionally covered with spruce branches. It will help accumulate more snow in this area and will prevent the soil from freezing to a greater depth. After the snow melts, spruce branches are removed, and as soon as friendly shoots appear, the soil between the rows is loosened.

In the event that the snow has melted, and after that cold or even frosty weather has established, the beds can be covered with an ordinary greenhouse film. By the way, covering the beds with foil or spunbond in the spring allows the seeds to grow more amicably.

Nikolay Khromov,

researcher, candidate of sciences

GNU VNIIS im. I. V. Michurina of the Russian Agricultural Academy,

Scientific Secretary of ANIRR

Photo by Olga Rubtsova and E. Valentinov