For those of us who reside in Canada, gardening becomes a central component of spring and summer activities once the weather warms up. Many people plant gardens in hopes of being able to abstain from having to purchase certain vegetables and instead providing for themselves, and honestly, gardening is an all-around great practice to engage in.
While we’re all familiar with the concept of gardening when weather permits, I would imagine a lot of us aren’t too savvy with the idea of a winter garden. But, they exist, and further, they might be worth trying.
According to an article from Reasons to be Cheerful, a scientist by the name of Wolfgang Palme who resides in Austria tried out the idea of winter gardening.
“Palme and his team planted the flower sprouts in late summer. Now it is the end of February. Spinach, purslane, radish, turnips, mediterranean herbs and lacinato kale have also survived the winter on the farm undamaged despite temperatures far below zero. Nearby, in large, unheated soft-plastic tunnels, even delicate salad greens, carrots, celery and pea sprouts are thriving in what should be impossible conditions. But to Palme, an agronomist and the head of the Research Institute of Horticulture in Austria, this jolting image isn’t just possible — it is the future of farming,” the article says.
“…Palme’s research on the Zinsenhof, the experimental farm where he guides me through frosty rows of seemingly implausible crops, and where he and his team have been perfecting the year-round cultivation of vegetables in the open field or in unheated soft-plastic tunnels for over ten years. There, they have developed methods to produce lettuce, spinach, scallions and red radishes in the dead of winter with one-sixth to one-tenth the carbon footprint of fresh produce farmed in heated systems.
“Like many of the best discoveries, Palme came upon the possibility of winter vegetable farming by chance when an experiment involving Asian salad greens was interrupted by an early and unexpected frost. Despite a temperature of minus 11 degrees Celsius, they remained undamaged. The technical literature had stated a frost hardiness of only minus three to five degrees,” explains the article.
I’ve never heard of growing a garden in frigid temperatures, but this article proves otherwise. I think Mr. Palme’s innovative concept could result in tremendous advancements in terms of food production in the years to come.