Winter Gardening

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Many of you that follow my Facebook page know that I’ve been speaking about winter gardening to several groups this summer. I’ve been pleasantly surprised (and almost overwhelmed) with requests for the information that I’m sharing with these groups, including requests for video of the talks. Wow!

I’m happy to share all of these materials with you on the blog today. Video? I attempted it at my most recent presentation this week, but my recording device failed. In the meantime, I decided to just post a powerpoint with voiceover, but keep in mind that it’s hard talking to a computer (I do so much better with an audience!). I’ll try again at a “live” recording next month, when I address the good folks at Pine Mountain Settlement School near Harlan, Kentucky.


How to Construct a Low Tunnel

Winter Vegetables and Their Planting Dates Table (At least for my hardiness zone, 6b)

Recommended Suppliers of Winter Seeds

Suppliers of Agribon and Other Winter Gardening Materials 

Winter Gardening Presentation on YouTube (Slides with Audio)



  1. charlotte

    July 12, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Thanks. i followed your instructions last year when I constructed my low tunnel. I was very pleased with the results. I had one question. When you use 1/2 pvc to you use thin or thick wall?

    • Ma Hubbard

      July 12, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      I’m glad to hear that you had good results with your low tunnel. Since “thin” or “thick” can be relative, I’ll just give you the specs as written on the conduit: 1120 PVC, Sch. 40, 600 psi.

      • Charlotte

        July 12, 2013 at 5:16 pm

        Thanks, I made mine with 3/4″ sch 40 last year b/c it’s what I had on hand. This year I hope to cover more beds but will have to purchase pvc.

  2. Pocket Hose

    July 23, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Thanks for sharing your presentations from these talks. It should be interesting.

  3. Willow

    August 1, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Thank you so much!! I am looking forward to more food this winter that is safe for my family! We have the same issues as your family’s with Gluten, that have also led us to home gardening.
    I already have short raised beds. They are 3×6 and I have quite a few. Would it work/be worth it to put poly tunnels on all of them, instead of having long beds like yours?
    One more question? How do you balance planting winter plants vs plants that are still producing. I am in zone 7 and I could be planting now, but I still have all my crops in for the summer/fall.

    • Ma Hubbard

      August 2, 2013 at 6:42 am

      I think the short beds will be fine, though they may hold temperature less well since they are a smaller volume. Our local extension office experimented with shorter raised beds (4X16 ft) last year and had success with cole crops. For balancing, you can intercrop plants with your summer crops, or simply set aside areas with a summer cover crop until you are ready to plant in them. I think buckwheat is the best summer cover crop for this purpose, as it can grow to maturity in about a month. Best wishes!

  4. Willow

    August 2, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Thanks so much! I am hoping for a great winter crop! 🙂

  5. pallinore

    March 20, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    I’m definitely doing this, so lucky that we are zone 6a so I can use you planting dates, thank you! You add/remove the two row covers as needed?

    • pallinore

      March 20, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      And do you have to water?

      • Ma Hubbard

        March 25, 2014 at 10:32 am

        Watering is only needed during establishment — no longer once winter arrives. Best wishes!

        • pallinore

          March 25, 2014 at 11:46 am

          Thanks! So – we cooked a huge hubbard squash this weekend, and I finally cooked the seeds from one – and they are so delicious! Better by far than pumpkin seeds!

  6. April

    April 15, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing all this information!

  7. Pam

    November 9, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    What zone is Illinois? Wouldn’t it be a bad winter garden here?

    • Cathy

      November 10, 2014 at 4:05 am

      There are many zones in Illinois, but winter gardening is good throughout the state. Please read this article for more information about growing in zones as far north as Maine and Canada, and follow the links at the end to find your zone.

  8. Linda Stobinski-Johnson

    November 13, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    I had to move my garden last year, but managed to save the soil (40 cubic yds.) Rather than deal with tearing out sod in the new garden I decided to lay down heavyweight landscape fabric and then place 12 in deep, 3′ x12′ raised beds on top of it, filled with the saved soil. Worked better than expected for the very, very wet summer. Usually this is where the story ends.

    However, much of my late fall planting of cold tolerant plants (spinach, Asian greens, Swiss chard, and leaf lettuce) is still doing very well in a 6b zone. I have two 6 ft cold frames settled on one of the beds, but am looking for a way to protect 5 others and keep growing during the coming winter.

    I plan to use PEX and electrical conduit clamps to build low tunnels inside the boxes, drape a floating row cover over the plants themselves, them drape and heavyweight clear plastic over the hoops and down the edges of the boxes to ground level securing them there.

    Could I ask if this sounds viable, or any suggestions you have to make it work better?

    • Cathy

      December 3, 2015 at 10:08 am

      Yes! I used to garden with clear plastic covers, but have switched to fabric row covers completely now. Why? The clear plastic will easily overheat the tunnels on a sunny winter day (temperatures hit 90+ F even on a 30 F day). I used to work closer to home, and could easily run home and vent the plastic covers, but no longer. So, I think you’ve got a great idea, just get an outdoor remote thermometer that you can keep in a tunnel to closely monitor the temperatures. Also, make sure that you secure those covers well with a rope across them — there’s no amount of weights that will keep clear plastic from blowing away on a windy day. Best of luck!!!

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