Blackberry Farm

Friends of the Farm

Winter Harvest

East Tennessee offers a climate that allows us to keep pulling from the garden well into the holidays. While the temperature dips into the 20s here and there, many of the veggies enjoy our December weather. These three cold hardy vegetables, as well as many others, provide for us through the winter months.

Cabbage has an easier time heading up in the cold the weather. It’s mortal enemy the cabbage worm is no longer around, so there are no pests to slow it down. If the weather is wet, that’s no problem; cabbage love water. The difficulty comes in getting them started in the late summer when temperatures are high and little startlings can struggle. Yet, the reward is cool, sweet, crisp heads of winter harvested cabbage.

Parsnips are another December treat that have adapted to handle colder weather. They concentrate their sugars in winter, enabling them to withstand the colder days and nights. Make sure to be thinking about them in early to midsummer when they need to be planted for a December harvest. They prefer a 130 days or so to mature properly. That’s a long time for a vegetable.

Collard greens are never forgotten in this area. We can count on this southern specialty to be with us well into the New Year. Many hillside gardens in East Tennessee are planted with a household amount of Collards. They can handle some heat and anything above zero degrees Fahrenheit. For this reason, as well as their high nutrient content, you’d be hard pressed to find a region of the world that doesn’t cherish these hardy greens.

Michael Washburn, Garden Manager