As wintry weather moves into the area, it's time to prepare our vegetable gardens for the cold season.
As always, organic gardener Jeanne Nolan has been helping prepare the WTTW/“Chicago Tonight” garden, and one of the first things she did in preparation for the winter was to install a cold frame.
“A cold frame is basically a mini-greenhouse,” said Nolan. “What it does is it gives us about five to 10 degrees of warmth that we would not have otherwise and gives us what is called ‘season extension.’”
Nolan seeded the cold frame with lettuce, kale and collard greens, which she expects to germinate in a week and be ready to eat in about a month.
Outside of the cold frame, Nolan also planted cloves of garlic, which need to be over-wintered and which will ultimately produce a full bulb of garlic by about July or August.
But it is important to make sure you have the right kind of garlic to plant, Nolan said.
“If you buy certified organic garlic at the grocery story – USDA-certified organic – that means it has not been treated with anything to prevent it sprouting,” she said.
But Nolan’s most important piece of advice is to make sure to harvest whatever fruit and vegetables remain in your garden as soon as possible.
“Any night now we are going to get a hard freeze that will kill any of the tender veggies in your garden,” said Nolan. “So play it safe and harvest your food.”
Nolan joins Phil Ponce in the WTTW/”Chicago Tonight” garden.