Think Christmas in July: A Winter Gardening Giveaway

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Sweltering in the summer heat and humidity? Think cool thoughts.

Think about working in your garden in WINTER, with no bugs, and almost non-existent weeds and plant diseases.

Sounds like a dream, right? Just skipping out to the garden to harvest a beautiful winter salad, or some gorgeous root crops to roast in the oven.

Overwintered salad mix, leeks, cabbage, and gourmet mache... harvested in March after one of our coldest sub-zero winters on record.

Overwintered salad mix, leeks, cabbage, and gourmet mache… harvested in March after one of our coldest sub-zero winters on record.


Let this be your winter to make it happen!

But unless you plan on eating only salads through the winter, you can’t wait until summer is over. Now’s the time that my winter gardening preparations go into full gear. It’s time to start sowing seeds in flats for brassicas, like broccoli and cabbage, to be transplanted at the end of July and early August. And I’ve got to finalize my seed orders for those things that will be direct-sown in the garden — a task that will start in mid-July and not end until around Halloween for me (since I offer a winter CSA vegetable subscription).

Getting another bed ready to plant salad mix on October 29th, 2014.

Getting another bed ready to plant salad mix on October 29th, 2014.


Need a helping hand? How about some winter vegetable seeds, or some fabric row cover for a rocking winter low tunnel? These items are all planned for the next two giveaways in my “Growing Together” series, but let’s get you ready with some winter gardening know-how first: I’m giving away copies of Eliot Coleman’s classic winter gardening book, Four Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long (affiliate link).

This is the book that got me started in winter gardening. Years ago, like many of you, I thought the gardening season ended in the fall. Thankfully, the hustle-and-bustle of having a new baby in the house prevented me from cleaning out the garden and planting cover crop at season’s end, and in the following late February, I discovered spinach and carrots that had overwintered on their own. I pulled some carrots, expecting them to be woody and bland, but thank goodness curiosity got the better of me and I tasted them before giving them a pitch! They were crisp and incredibly sweet… much sweeter than they’d been in late summer (and thus, why they’d been left in the ground!). An internet search of “sweet winter carrots” led me to Eliot Coleman (“candy carrots” are a winter specialty on his Maine organic farm). After several passes through Four Season Harvest, a winter gardener was born!

Mr. Coleman’s techniques for growing through Maine’s harsh winters were easy to adapt to my unique climate, even though I’ve refined planting dates and low tunnel management methods for my plant hardiness zone in the Kentucky mountains (zone 6b). If you’re a long-time follower of this blog, you know that my winter growing has been so abundant and successful, that I now speak for Extension and even state growers’ conferences. I’ll soon be sharing all of my know-how in my upcoming ebook (delayed due to our move, but fingers-crossed that I’ll be finished by August), but in the meantime, I’m happy to share Mr. Coleman’s inspirational  book with TWO lucky gardeners.

To enter, just share your plant hardiness zone and motivation to garden in winter in the comments below. And for extra entries and good karma, please share this giveaway or ANY of the winter gardening posts that I’ll be sharing this week on Facebook! Contest ends next Tuesday (June 30th) at midnight… good luck!


More on Winter Gardening from Mother of a Hubbard

Winter Vegetable Planting Dates

10 Reasons Why Low Tunnels Beat Cold Frames for Winter Gardening

Cheating Winter: The Little Known Truth about Frost and Freeze Tables

10 Vegetables More Cold Hardy than Kale

Is Clear Plastic Necessary? Success with Fabric Row Covers

Calculating Your Garden’s Persephone Days

Fabric or Plastic? Choosing Row Cover

Candy Carrots and Turnip Treats: Why Some Veggies Are Sweeter in Winter

How to Build a Low Tunnel




  1. Loretta

    June 23, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    I’m in 6b. I really want to have fresh food in the winter time!

  2. Mindy

    June 23, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Also in 6b, and as I can personally attest to the wonders of your garden, I’m thinking of trying it myself. My motivation is that I really can’t stand the summer heat and long for fresh veggies in the winter. I enjoy my CSA subscriptions but a tiny part of me gets a kick out of growing something myself.

  3. rita

    June 23, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    great giveaway ! my zone is 6, wanted this book for a long time ,my motivation would be to be able to grow veg’s outdoors in winter, to find my treasure under the snow, that’s is fresh and organic .

  4. mamarandom

    June 23, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    I’m in 7a, and sometimes our summers are so hot I begin to dislike my garden. Gardening in our fall and winter might be lovely!

  5. Connie Vogel

    June 23, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    I am in zone 6A in Kentucky. I grow biennials for both food and seed, so overwintering is necessary. I also like leafy greens and root vegetables in the winter months.

  6. newbiegardengirl

    June 23, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    I’ve checked out his book about 10+ times from the library. I can’t get enough of it! And I’ve read your posts on winter gardening multiple times. For some reason, it is something that I LOVE the idea of but it scares me at the same time. I really want to do a large winter garden this winter! Having his book on hand (though I was hoping for your ebook by now – totally understand though) would help! Oh, I’m in zone 7b.

  7. James Hadden

    June 23, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    i am in zone 7b. Icrave the taste of fresh vegetables during the winter months and I am sure Mr. Coleman’s book will open up new vistas for my winter garden.

  8. Ann Noskowiak

    June 23, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    Zone 5 – Newbie veggie gardener (unless you count tomatoes). I’m loving the spring spinach/kale/red lettuce harvesting from my garden. My cold frames are awaiting!

  9. Traci

    June 23, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    Zone 6b…I LOVE the fact that there are NO weeds involved in Fall/Winter gardening. They are our biggest pain in the Summer that I enjoy forgetting about in the winter.

  10. Ann

    June 24, 2015 at 12:30 am

    zone 6b, There is nothing like the taste of a green smoothie made with homegrown greens!

  11. Janet

    June 24, 2015 at 6:38 am

    I’m 6a in West Virginia. I tried a covered raised bed last winter and the results were a very happy success. I’m moving to a new place (same zone) next week so getting anything ready to plant in by late July/August is going to be a challenge, but I will get veggies in a bed for winter if it kills me!

  12. Nancy Dusko

    June 24, 2015 at 6:40 am

    Zone 6b. I would love to have fresh greens over the winter for the family.

  13. lindsey ratterree

    June 24, 2015 at 7:56 am

    zone 7a- we winter garden because we get snowed in a lot and can’t get to the stores. It’s nice to have fresh veg year round.

  14. Catherine

    June 24, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Zone 6a. I love cooking even more during the winter months and wish I could go out and pick fresh food out back in winter like I do in summer.

  15. Heather O

    June 24, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    I’m in 5b-6a, and I know that the longer I leave my carrots in the ground the sweeter they are…but they’re usually gone by Thanksgiving! I’d love to learn more about gardening year round.

  16. Kim

    June 24, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    I’m in 6a. Last year I planted spinach in early fall and due to some family issues didn’t pay attention to it at all. Came March it was thriving. Now I’m inspired to try cabbages and kale in fall to avoid those pesky cabbage worms.

  17. Rebecca Cash

    June 25, 2015 at 9:05 am

    I am in zone-6a, I enjoy ‘greens’ year round, thanks for sharing

  18. Tisa Wenger

    June 25, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    I’m in 6a as well. Last year was our first attempt at winter gardening, and I was amazed at how much we got, up until the first polar vortex hit in early January and killed most of what we had left. So I’m eager to learn more from you about how to do this better. I’ve started planting already for this fall and winter: brussels sprouts, broccoli, leeks, Chinese cabbage. Would love to have a copy of Eliot Coleman’s book.

  19. Pat M

    June 25, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    I’m zone 6 A , southwest Ohio. I want to grow my own food to save $ and to eat better.

  20. Marty C.

    June 25, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    5b/6a. right on the border. I’d love to have fresh greens in the winter.

  21. Joanna

    June 25, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Zone 6, right in the middle of NYC, it’s the first time in my life that I have outdoor space and it’s actually big enough to have a veggie garden which I dreamt about for many years… I’m a stay at home mom to a 3 and 4 year olds, in recent years I was getting CSA but with two little ones by my side all the time it was always really hard to pick up the share and bring the heavy load of veggies home… So as soon as I saw this yard in my new rental (where I moved just this February, right in time to have time to prepare for summer garden) I knew that I want to try my hand in gardening… I planted tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, beans, radisher, lettuces, peppers and eggplants… Not everything is doing great but I’m beyond happy with how some of the garden is turning out, as a matter of fact I fall in love with gardening and spend all my free time googling and reading about it. I came across your blog TODAY and read most of the posts already 😉 Now I’m researching if all what you do is possible in NYC and if it is, I’ll be trying it with my little helpers 😉

  22. Wendy Janzen

    June 25, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Zone 8
    Motivation – we are experiencing drought (even though we are classified as rain Forrest), hopefully we get some rain soon.

  23. Kim Slone

    June 26, 2015 at 8:30 am

    In zone 6b here as well, (not far from you!) & after attending one of your classes on Winter gardening, having a successful Winter garden is on my “bucket list”! 😉

  24. Suzanne Werner

    June 26, 2015 at 8:37 am

    6a/5b and last year we got 110 inches of snow, and this year I’d like to do something outside this winter other than shoveling.

  25. Melissa G

    June 26, 2015 at 11:21 am

    8b/9. Last year planted a very ve y late crop
    Of cauliflower, spinach, broccoli, cabbage and chard and was blown away by the size/sweetness of the crop we had during the middle of winter…this year would love to have a plan to make it even better!

  26. Carla S

    June 26, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    I’m in zone 6. I garden on the sun porch during the winter.

  27. Carla S

    June 26, 2015 at 4:08 pm

  28. Lisa from Iroquois

    June 26, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    I’m in 5A but we also have a tiny micro-climate here that means I am usually frost safe until into November and miss that last spring frost in May tho I’ve never pegged exactly our last frost date. Clay soil means I cannot normally plant until June so having a longer growing period balances out. We are usually good all winter with the broccoli and beet tops I’ve frozen before hand but I want to get the better of the carrot fly and that means an even later harvest for carrots. Tried experimenting with a covered shelter this past winter but it collapsed. Very interested in this book but it is not currently handled by our local libraries.

  29. Fe

    June 26, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    I’m in zone 6b/7a. I was thinking of growing some vegetables this winter, I saw your pictures on Facebook and motivated me to grow some greens even in a small area in my yard also, so that I can eat fresh veggies right from my garden even in winter time.

  30. Rose Santuci-Sofranko

    June 26, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    We are 6a near (snowvember) territory Western New York. I am just curious to see what we could grow in our Winters!

  31. Kathleen Ruth

    June 28, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    I’m in zone 8a. We are in a new house and I have both a small greenhouse and a protected spot for a winter garden. I’ve previously grown winter greens in containers and am excited to try having a real winter garden!

  32. Gregor

    June 29, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    My motivation is my wife! We are zone 4 and she has big plans for this winter. I’ve been reading your site at her request. Her motivation is feeding our kids. Thanks for all the info-you do a great job.

  33. Shannon

    June 30, 2015 at 1:56 am

    Zone 6 and with a growing season of only 60-70 days I try to stretch out my garden as much as possible, last year my high tunnel got destroyed by a late summer storm so no fall/ winter veggies

  34. Sherry Duncan

    June 30, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Zone 5b. My husband and I moved into our new house in November and this spring I put out a large garden. We love eating home raised food. It is so much better than store bought. After reading your articles about fall and winter gardening I am very interested in trying it. So I’m going to plant some extra plants to extend into late fall and early winter and probably going to put up a low tunnel as well. I would love to learn more about techniques and varieties to use.

  35. kate C.

    June 30, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Zone 5a (just ~two miles away from 4b!) My motivation to winter garden is huge this year… I am definitely doing it! I really want to because I think my veggies taste the best, plus I am cheap, and growing my own is so much less than the co-op or grocery store, plus I just love gardening, so why stop?

  36. Will H

    June 30, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    We are zone 5a and my motivation is that I like the fresh veggies my wife grows and she said if I win her this book that she will grow more great vegetables for our family.

  37. Sandra Sanderford

    June 30, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    To be totally honest I have not planted a garden in all the years we have been living on the coast of NC because of neighborhood regulations. However our house is for sale and we are moving to the Piedmont of NC…yup, red clay soil. I am 70 years old and gardened years ago. Your posts have inspired me to get back to it. A must have in our new residence will be room for raised beds and a green house. I recently went Organic, gluten free and dairy free. I thank you for much inspiration and all your saved links for when we get to our new home. All knowledge is valuable to me. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  38. Nicole

    July 1, 2015 at 3:16 am

    Zone 8, with 50 inches of rain a year. I’d like to learn winter gardening so I can grow veggies that won’t be consumed by slugs!

  39. Lisa

    July 1, 2015 at 7:50 am

    Zone 5, I live in southern Maine, in a very urban compact area, and would LOVE to be able to grow veggies year ’round.

  40. Jenny Marie

    July 1, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    6b. My motivation for growing in winter is mainly to have fresh organic food! The secondary motivation is it feeds my soul to know there is a magical wonderland of green and growing plants under there. It really is an amazement every single time I peep into a tunnel. You can’t beat that feeling. Thanks to you I am ditching the plastic this year and going for a woven fabric. I don’t have any of these books (yet) so thank you for the fun of a giveaway!

  41. KImberly

    July 7, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    I am in TX 6B/7A. This year I am going all out for winter gardens. I need healthy produce and the closest organic stores are 100 miles away. We had such a successful spring and now summer garden at our new place my son and I are putting in a huge fall winter one. You are the one that inspired me to even try it, no one here does.

  42. vanessa

    July 12, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Im a 8b. I just read a book about this right now. I had no clue this was even possible! So surprised and super excited to give it a try.

  43. Peggy

    July 17, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    I am in zone 7and actually you have been an inspiration to garden in winter, which I am starting to do. would love to continue to eat fresh veggies.

  44. Laura

    August 9, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    Zone 7B and I cold framed veggies last year and want to build upon my successes with more information!

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