A winter garden’s yield is a miraculous gift.

Plants that appear frozen to death can somehow come back to life and produce a nutritious bounty all year long 🌿

This season of giving and receiving inspires reflection and, for me, gratitude.

Our family is rarely blessed with many gifts. There are few intrinsic human virtues that a garden cannot teach us.

Growing delicious and nutritious produce over the winter in this cold, dark climate is nothing short of a miracle. In a patio container exposed to icy temperatures, not only covered by a sturdy cold frame, but protected only by rancher’s eaves and radiant heat, layers of leaf and straw mulch, and microbiological magic , I do it myself like a week-old chocolate cake, keeping it “just” moist with living soil.

Our patio planters provide us with essential goodness every day. I can’t imagine and I can’t believe that the supple, frozen, hard leaves of Astro and Adagio Arugula, Winter Purslane, Winter Romaine, Radicchio, and Winter Mesclun will recover in situ once thawed, but they do. is. Like magic, it restores its beautiful pre-frozen glow, leaving you looking more vibrant and happier than before.

When I started winter gardening, after the first deep freeze, I was devastated. All was lost, and it was certain that the seemingly melted mound of dark green leaves was destined for compost. volumized.

As long as the soil stays mulched and doesn’t dry out, and the greens are protected from snow and hail, I’ve found that I can rely on winter gardens well into spring. It is important to understand that frozen leaves will only regain their integrity if left intact on the plant when thawed.

Indeed, frozen vegetables such as arugula, mustard, beets, rapini, and rapeseed leaves are often selected and used in stir-fries, soups, and braises. I only cut individual leaves and work from the bottom up (like fresh kale, celery cuts, leaf lettuce). The mother plant does not wear out as the temperature rises.

I learned this through trial and error when an unexpected company dropped by one night. A delicious lentil and barley soup suddenly appeared an eerie beige color. Holding the flashlight firmly in my teeth, in hopeful desperation I harvested a handful of mixed green leaves, quickly and stealthily chopping them away. The soup, swirled with freshly lovely greens, served with chili-infused olive oil and shaved pecorino, was a hit. More importantly, we’ve added a new fortification of freshly picked, nutrient-rich ingredients.

There is no doubt that our annual self-preservation of arugula seeds has produced varieties that are better suited to a particular microclimate. So he’s growing his second crop in a cold frame away from the kitchen, but within easy reach of visitors.

My favorite winter green is the charming Claytonia perfoliate, also known as winter purslane. Claytonia is a wild green native to western and coastal North America. The name of the street is Miner’s Lettuce, so named because California gold rushers ate it to stave off scurvy. Claytonia is rich in vitamins C and A and provides a remarkable amount of iron.

A quick run through the smallest winter garden and clipping the tiny outer leaves from a variety of hardy greens can provide a rainbow of essential micro- and macronutrients to cheer us up when the sun is low. I can do it.

By early spring, when we tire of bittersweet winter vegetables, the plants respond in the same way, rewarding our patience and attention with nutty, buttery, floral, energetic veggies. Sending out beautiful shoots of goodness toward the sun. Complete.

May this holiday season bring you and your garden many blessings of discipline, peace, health, happiness, patience, wisdom, gratitude and generosity.

Laura Marie Neubert is an urban permaculture designer based in West Vancouver. Follow her on her Instagram @upfrontandbeautiful, visit her website on her Upfront & Beautiful to learn more about permaculture, or email her with your questions.

Click the YouTube link below for permaculture.

(Video – Courtesy of West Vancouver Memorial Library)

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