Most of us don’t think about winter as a prime gardening season. This is because it isn’t. But that doesn’t mean you can’t grow a garden this time of year. Particularly in south Texas, there are a lot of options for growing a tasty, convenient garden in your back yard.

Here are some plants to start growing right now.

Greens

Spinach, arugula, kale, mustard greens — anything in that family will do great in the wintertime. On the seed packets, you’ll see instructions on the various “zones” where each individual plant will survive at a given time of year, so do pay attention to that before you try to start growing. But if you do so, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh garden salads all year long.

Root Vegetables

The same caveat about the zones applies to root vegetables, but most of them will also do well in the winter. Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, onions, beets and peas are among the root vegetables you should be able to grow even while it’s cold outside.

How To Do It

Even in Houston, we do get the occasional cold snap, so it’s a good idea to mulch your garden to help those delicate roots survive. It will keep weeds and vermin away, and will help moisturize the soil. You shouldn’t have too many problems with insects in the winter, but there are a couple varieties of worms that can do damage this time of year, so a pesticide is not a bad idea (provided you’re not trying to grow organically). It’s also not a bad idea to ge ta floating row cover, which will help keep out vermin, and will also help insulate the plants in temperatures as low as 20 degrees.

Final Comments

We should say that although we focused on greens and root vegetables here, we’ve had success growing tomatoes, jalapenos and even herbs during the winter months. It might occasionally require you to toss a sheet over your plants to protect them from a rare frost, but it’s delirious fun to pick a fresh, ripe, red tomato off a green vine in December.

Do you have any winter gardening tips we should know about? Give us a shout in the comments!