For me and my partner, Tess, the garden is our refuge and one of the calmest places in which we can be. It's a place for us to slow down from the crazy pace of modern life. Whether it's sipping a cup of tea as we water our herbs, or spending 30 minutes a day tending to our veggie patch, gardening provides us with a time for reflection and tranquillity.
In winter, we spend more time indoors and our bodies crave extra nourishment, so we often find ourselves gazing at our garden, dreaming up new ideas for the coming seasons. What will we do differently? How can we improve the garden?
For those of you who already have a garden, you know that the size of the garden doesn't matter — it's the total experience that it brings you. Maybe it's growing the tastiest Meyer lemon you've ever had, or the satisfaction of knowing that fresh basil and chili are within arm's reach when it comes time to adding flavor to your favorite dishes.
Your approach to living a sustainable life and enjoying the garden-to-plate experience can be as small or as big as you like — the most important thing is to enjoy it. Let's get started!
Why Grow It: We grow the late-season "Red Drumhead" variety to make sauerkraut. We plant these at the end of summer or in autumn, and they take a few months to form a dense head.
Where to Grow It: The humble cabbage and other cool-season brassicas, such as collard greens, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, are best placed in garden beds with plenty of room for full sun and airflow around them.
When to Grow It: Plant seedlings in autumn and keep an eye out for cabbage moths and caterpillars.
How to Harvest: Use your knife to cut through the base at ground level when the purplish red head is tight and dense.
Why Grow It: Yes, carrots are cheap to buy, but you miss out on the excitement of plucking a tastier version from the soil. You can grow a variety of carrot types all year round.
Where to Grow It: Carrots need loose soil. A veggie patch will give longer varieties the depth they need, but shorter/rounder carrots will be fine in a pot. Choose a spot that gets half a day of sun.
When to Grow It: Select carrot seeds for the season in which you want to grow them. Plant your seeds directly in the garden and keep them moist. Pluck out the weaker seedlings so the strongest ones are spaced four inches apart.
How to Harvest: You'll see the colored carrot tops poke out of the soil as they get bigger.
Why Grow It: We love orange trees for the bright pops of color they add to a usually green-washed background. Plus, the orange is a versatile fruit with a bold flavor.
Where to Grow It: In a large pot or container, or right in the middle of the yard as a feature tree.
When to Grow It: Find the right location in the garden, then start looking for an attractive specimen. If you want instant fruits, you can buy established trees that are more than two meters in height. Plant your orange tree at any time of the year with care.
How to Harvest: Harvest ripe oranges in autumn and winter. Take care of your fruit trees with pruning, and give them adequate nutrients and water.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love.