As temperatures drop and gourd-centric holidays come and go, many gardeners may find themselves wondering what to grow in cold weather. Luckily, certain crops thrive during cooler seasons due to their resistance to frost and extreme temperatures. Think greens, root vegetables, and onions for a wonderfully hearty stew; cruciferous vegetables and asparagus perfect for stir fries; marinated beets to add to nutritious salads. But since this is PittMoss’s eco-conscious gardening blog and not Ina Garten’s cooking blog, let’s shift gears and focus on why PittMoss® is the ideal soil amendment for your cold crop growing efforts this season!
According to PittMoss’s resident soil science expert Dr. Charles Bethke, cool seasons create a unique set of challenges for home gardeners. “The supply of sunlight is low and the days are short, therefore crop growth and development are greatly limited,” he says. This leads to slower crop growth during cold weather, while plants tend to die off because “they desiccate when the soil freezes and the wind dries it out.” Gardeners have no reason to fret, however, as PittMoss’s unique qualities enable cold crops to flourish in spite of harsh weather conditions.
In Dr. Bethke’s opinion, “PittMoss® as a substrate or soil amendment is especially good for crops under these conditions because it provides a steady water supply without frequent watering. Therefore, plant leaf surfaces remain drier and less disease is promoted.” Additionally, PittMoss® “promotes a light fluffy structure that provides good insulation for the roots against freezing and thawing.”
Dr. Bethke recommends replacing ¼ to ⅓ of your preferred growing mix with PittMoss® in order to take advantage of the hardiness of your cold weather crops. He also advises, “It is important that gardeners do not over-fertilize or over-water during the winter months,” as nutrients tend to leach from soil with excess water.
Now that you’re equipped with this useful knowledge about growing cold crops with PittMoss®, go forth and demonstrate your (winter)green thumb this season! Maybe instead of leaving out milk and cookies for a certain jolly harbinger of joy, you’ll leave out carrot juice with balsamic roasted Brussels sprouts. These healthy cold crop options are sure to leave fewer crumbs on his red velvet suit.
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