Overwintering for an Early Spring Crop

Last fall some of the leeks and onions weren’t quite large enough to pick. So Jamie covered them with leaves and let them “overwinter”. When you successfully overwinter, the plants go dormant but survive the cold weather and then start to grow again in the early Spring.  We do this in the greenhouse more easily – but have also successfully overwintered certain cold hardy crops outside of the greenhouse.  Over the years Jamie has used leaves, straw and row covers to accomplish this.

Our overwintered leeks and onions (outside of the greenhouse) easily doubled in size by the first week of June, so Jamie went ahead and picked them (he needed the room in the garden to plant new rows). He also picked “leek scapes” which should be fantastic for making pesto!

In zone 5 it’s a special kind of magic when you can start picking crops in early Spring!  And the vegetables and herbs that survive the winter are very hardy and especially nutritious.  If using row covers, in late fall and early spring you can uncover them during sunny days and recover by nightfall.