Over-wintered greens

Growing food in northern New Mexico is a unique situation. At 7,000 ft. and in zone 5 with not much rainfall it’s amazing that anything lives through the winter. Spinach and arugula are two plants that can be harvested abundantly February-May and longer if some planning is done the previous fall. It is almost magical to see full beds of green underneath a fabric cover in late February. At a time when customers haven’t seen local greens for months and don’t expect any for a few more, having spinach and arugula can be very advantageous to a grower. These crops are not just nutritionally amazing but you can also harvest them more than 6 times from a single planting.

Since these plants are not fans of heat the trick is to plant them in fall, after the hot summer days have passed and let them get established so they can survive the winter. These are very hardy plants and they don’t need much protection, all that is needed here is a cloth row cover flat over the plants and held in place, or a small hoop with plastic over the plants. For those interested in learning more about what it takes to grow year-round Elliot Coleman does a great job explaining the steps in his book “Four Season Harvest” which you can purchase from amazon at this link. FourSeasonHarvest

3 thoughts on “Over-wintered greens

    1. You could plant the same way in SE Wisconsin as we are in similar growing zones. The key is to get the spinach planted a few weeks before the first frost in fall and cover with fabric or mulch to protect it through the winter. You could do some succession planting now in a low tunnel if you didn’t get any planted last fall to have fresh spinach all spring.


  1. you’ve inspired me! i want to do that now so i can have such amazing greens that early in the year. i like that not much labor is needed once planted in the fall,… until harvest time šŸ™‚


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