Winter can seem like a difficult time to experience the food shed around us. With colder temperatures and a lack of moisture, it might feel like our area is dormant and your only options are at your local grocery store. However, with a little creativity and effort, local food options are still available in the Llano Estacado.
Wanting to enjoy local food this winter season? Here are some things you can enjoy from local producers, even in the winter months:
- Beef and poultry
- Milk and dairy products
- Greens and beets
- Beverages like wine, beer, and coffee
If you have a desire to grow some of your own food during the winter time, building a cold frame, green house, or grow tunnel are great options for you. We wrote a blog sharing about each of these that you can read here. For more extensive instructions on how to build a cold frame, you can read this post. Another great option is a walipini.
If you don’t want to build one of these options, there are still some food items you can grow inside your house. To have the greatest success, here are some things to keep in mind:
- You’ll need a good light source. A great option is if you have a large window that gets a lot of sun. If not, you can set up a lamp or light for your plants.
- Stay aware of pests. Because growing plants indoors means there are few natural bug eaters around, you’ll want to look out for pests that could damage your plants. The cooler temperatures should help keep some of these guys away, but you’ll want to watch your plants to see if they show any signs of pest problems. Read more about pest management for indoor growing here.
- You’ll also want to pick the right kinds of plants to grow. Your best bets are things like lettuce or cool season greens like swiss chard, kale, spinach, and beets. This post offers some great tips!
One surprise plant that can be grown indoors? Tomatoes. You won’t be able to grow the larger varieties, but you will be able to grow grape or cherry with some success. Fresh tomatoes can make anything taste better, and they’re a wonderful addition to pastas, salads, and sandwiches or wraps. You can learn more about growing tomatoes indoors here.
If you’re simply having an itch to get started on your summer garden, now is the time to start planning out your space, ordering seeds, and preparing the area where you will sprout your seedlings. Sprouting and growing seedlings would start in late March.
Do you grow any food during the winter months? What are your favorite ways to experience your local food shed, even when it’s cold outside?