When summer ends and the first signs of autumn arrive, in our garden the plants that during the summer have given us plenty of vegetables and fruits begin to dry out. This desiccation is an unmistakable sign that the cultivation of plants such as tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins and zucchini is over and it is the right time to remove the crops and prepare a new crop.
Although there are many vegetables grown from spring to autumn, there are also many species with winter cultivation. For the cultivation of these species, the work begins in autumn with the removal of the spring-summer crops and subsequently with the preparation of the soil. Once the crops have been removed, we must enrich the soil with chemical granular fertilizer or with pelleted organic fertilizer to prepare a rich and fertile growing substrate. For winter crops it is clearly necessary to choose the sunniest and best exposed plots because in the winter period both the hours of light and the intensity of the sun's rays are lower than in the summer.
A good alternative to growing in the open air to have fresh vegetables (salads and herbs) all year round is growing in tunnels or in mini-greenhouses. To build a tunnel you need metal arches and a transparent plastic sheet and it is necessary to arrange the tunnel with a short side and a long side on small plots of land. Protected from frost and benefited by a suitable microclimate, plants will be able to grow in these tunnels even in otherwise prohibitive times of the year.
Here comes the cold season, and near winter it is necessary to prepare your garden for the cold, frequent rains and potential night frosts. In order not to ruin the hard work of a year, here are some tips on how to do one adequate preparation of the soil for the winter garden. You will find everything in our guide!
There preparation of the winter garden it requires some small strategic measures that will make a big difference between a prolific garden and one that struggles to bear fruit. Soil must be ensured to provide satisfactory productivity in preparation for the spring or summer harvest.
It is very important, before proceeding with further interventions, to carry out a real personalized statistics on the various vegetables that have presented an excellent yield during the year. In this way you can decide to eliminate the less profitable vegetables, leaving room for those able to produce more from a qualitative point of view. You then decide to plant the vegetables that grow most in that particular soil.
If you are going to replace vegetables, you will have to eliminate them on the ground avoiding uprooting them with all the roots. The roots compact the soil and prevent the formation of holes. I also make it less permeable to water. If you are in an area where it snows frequently, use protective nets to prevent the snow from coming into contact with the winter foliage or vegetables. That way if you're growing celery, cauliflower, and carrots, you'll be able to protect them from the bitter frost.
As happens all year round, remember to water the garden regularly, especially in case of low rainfall. This way the soil will retain its ability to infuse good ingredients into the vegetables.
VEGETABLES FOR THE COLD: LA VALERIANA, OR GALLINELLA
Valerian has many names. It is often called valerianella, sweet herb, gurnard, or by other names. It is a cold-resistant salad vegetable, and therefore one of the first that can be grown while we await the arrival of spring. It is easy to grow, sparing in requests and generous in production. It is truly worth cultivating
Valerian is an annual herbaceous plant, which has been known almost forever. Legend says that John the Baptist ate it while living in the desert of Palestine. The leaves are arranged in a rosette, and constitute the edible part of the plant. Reproduction occurs by seed: in Garden centers you will surely find sachets of seeds of many varieties.
The varieties differ according to the size of the seed (small or large) and the leaves (small or large), as well as the shape of the leaves (round or elongated) and their color which can vary from very light green to green. dark.
It is a plant adaptable to different types of soil, from that with pH 5.5 to that with pH 7. It generally prefers sandy or medium-textured soil. It prefers a cool-temperate climate. It has good resistance to cold and tolerates drought, but long days or an average temperature above 15 degrees cause pre-flowering. For this reason, the most suitable periods for cultivation are the end of winter or the end of autumn.
It can be sown in rows 20 cm apart, or on flower beds wider than 80 cm, by broadcasting. In any case, when the seedlings are 4-5 cm high, they must be thinned, leaving one every 8-10 cm. The seed is buried a few millimeters, and the seedlings emerge after 20-25 days.
It can be sown in mini-furrows, or in mini-holes of 3-4 seeds. Broadcast sowing spreads the seed on the surface of the ground and then covers it with a few millimeters of earth, then beating it with a tablet.
Valerian has moderate needs for irrigation, also considering the period in which it is grown, and also for fertilization. It is not recommended to use manure which could transfer bad flavors to the seedlings
Harvesting can be done in stages, initially keeping the seedlings dense and eliminating the most grown ones every ten days to leave more space for the others.
Immediately after each harvest it is advisable to water and possibly fertilize moderately with nitrogen (urea or ox blood) to accelerate the growth of the remaining plants.
From sowing it takes 60 days to get the first product. The leaves are tender and fleshy, have a sweet and bitter taste at the same time and are eaten raw, alone or mixed with other salads. Valerian should be eaten fresh, it can only be kept for a few days in the refrigerator. It is well resistant to diseases and parasites.