Winter Veggies that Grow in Greenville

martha cinader
Mr. Nathan Vannette recommends Agribon as a cover for a hoop winter garden, because of its durability, and because it is less likely than plastic to get caught in a wind.

On November 19 from 7-8pm, I attended a very informative class, along with about thirty other would be winter gardeners. The class, called Winter Vegetable Gardening, was taught by Nathan Vannette, a co-owner and operator of Growing Green Family Farm. It was hosted by the Travelers Rest Branch of the Greenville Public Library. Not only did I learn about different methods and what to grow, but I was given a lettuce starter and five free packets of seeds!

Reading materials available at the library for would be winter gardeners.

Mr. Nathan Vannette gave an information packed lecture about best practices here in the Upstate of South Carolina for keeping a garden going year round. Now, I have to confess I was a little disappointed, but that’s because I have a tomato growing in my kitchen right now, and I thought I was going to leave the class with what I needed to plant that baby and get some tomatoes this winter. Well, that turns out to be more fantasy than reality for now. That’s because Mr. Vannette ever-so-politely informed me that I would need a grow light to get any tomatoes at all, cuz there’s just not enough hours of light around here. A fully constructed greenhouse with a grow light is not in the cards right now, but maybe an LED light in my kitchen?

But you know what they say, you gotta work with what you got instead of longing for something else. There are plenty of vegetables that can be grown around here, some that don’t even mind the frost so much, like broccoli, which is apparently sweeter when grown in the winter. For me, I’m most interested in keeping the lettuce going, because we like to eat a fresh salad with our dinners around here. So I’m going to start with that and try to build things up from there, maybe.

Free seeds from Greenville County Library

Another thing I didn’t really understand is that you only cover your crops when there is a frost. You have to keep going out there and covering and uncovering your crops. So lazy me, I thought I could just cover them and let them grow under there. Of the various methods for keeping crops warm during a frost that were presented, I think I’m going to go with using the southern facing brick exterior of my house. The brick absorbs the heat of the sun and will help to keep the temperature elevated. We have a roll of weed fabric around here somewhere, so I’m going to use that to keep the ground a little warmer. So what I will need to do is order some agribon, and decide how to create a structure against the side of my house.

In the meantime, I am going to start the seeds I was so generously given by Ms. Rebecca Kilby Vannette, the Digitization Librarian for Greenville Public Library and the wife of Mr. Vannette. Thanks to this friendly and knowledgable couple for sharing with the rest of us!

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