Growing Vegetables/winter gardening.

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Question
Hello.  I live where it is hot all year.  It is very humid in the summer but dries out a bit in the winter.  Temperatures are usually in the 80's throughout the winter- no frost.  Will summer vegetables grow in winter in this climate?  Is it better to wait till after the winter solstice so days are getting longer (can plants tell?)  In the past I've kept basil straggling along- it always waits till summer to take off.  I'm wondering if it's worth trying some other things like summer squash and tomatoes?
Thank you for your time.  Much appreciated.

Answer
Elizabeth,

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. Plants definitely know what season it is.  Summer veggies need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight to grow their best, that is why they often go dormant-like in the winter months even if the temperature is high, then start growing in Feb or March when the days start to get longer.

I am not sure where you live however I would suggest experimenting with a few plants of squash and tomatoes to see how they fair, but they will probably grow much slower than the summer season so do not have too high expectations.  Greens, kale, chard, and winter broccoli seem to grow fairly well in the north west during the winter months so you could try some of these as well to see how they do in your climate (if you like to eat these kind veggies).

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.

Catherine
www.your-vegetable-gardening-helper.com  

Growing Vegetables

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Catherine Abbott

Expertise

I am confident I can answer any questions about planting, growing and harvesting vegetables and culinary herbs. I am very knowledgeable and experienced in garden site planning and design, propagating, soil preparation, transplanting, pest control, disease management, watering, fertilizing, and composting.

Experience

I have been growing vegetables organically since 1993 first in my small backyard, then moving to a 2 acre plot where I grew vegetables for sale at our local farmers market and through a CSA (community shared agriculture). I started a popular website http://www.your-vegetable-gardening-helper.com in 2007 and have answered questions from all over the world through that site. I have 3 published Everything series books on gardening as well as several self published books for sale on my website.

Organizations
I volunteer and assist teaching disabled adults how to grow their own vegetable gardens. I have set up raised bed gardens in the front yards of their group homes and the gardens help to feed the households. I am very involved in our local farming community and am the treasurer and a garden mentor for a local society called One Straw, which promotes organic and sustainable practices for growing local food. I am a board of director for a government committee that is involved in keeping our ALR (Agricultural Land Reserve) safe.

Publications
I have 3 published Everything series books: The Everything Grow Your Own Vegetables Book published in 2010. The Everything Root Cellaring Book published in 2011. The Everything Small Space Gardening Book set to be published Jan 2012. I have 3 self published garden design books: Vegetable Garden Plans for your Raised Beds. Vegetable Garden Plans for Square Foot Gardening. Vegetable Garden Plans for Row Gardening. I have a self published book on soil building: Why is Soil so Important? Tips on Amending and Fertilizing I also publish a yearly journal promoting garden planning and planting by the moon cycles. The current one is called "My 2012 Vegetable Garden Journal" I write articles that are published at EzineArticles.

Education/Credentials
I teach gardening classes on propagating, pest and disease management, and soil fertility at our local community center. My education came from my mother, mentors, and growing my own gardens.

Past/Present Clients
I write a monthly newsletter for my gardening website and send it to a email list of over 1200 gardeners. I write articles for EzineArticles. I have had numerous local clients through gardening classes and mentoring.

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