Falling into the Winter Garden
How quickly autumn has sneaked up on us this year. The change from those warm, long summer nights to shorter, cooler days was pronounced and unmistakable here in the Russian River Valley. Such a distinct change of seasons beckons transformation in the landscape, including our annual gardens. People are often surprised that a winter garden is not only possible but able to provide a respectable range of food to eat November through March. Early season crops include bok choi, lettuce, cabbage, and shiso. Late season crops are mostly comprised of leafy greens such as kale, mustard, celery, and radicchio. The cold weather slows growth considerably so that by February the plants resemble swaying statues iridescent with morning frost.
With winter in sight, we plan the beds to exemplify health and longevity. We always design with form and function in mind. Which crops will provide us with food while pleasing the eye? How can we create a winter wonderland for our community to enjoy? We are always on the lookout for new and interesting varieties. White Peacock kale has been a Lynmar favorite this year. A circular display of green and white creates an exhibit of color that stands apart from the rest. An abundance of kale varieties from Blue Curled Scotch to Red Chidori grows happily in the cool weather, and will provide our chef with fresh ingredients even on the coldest of days this winter. Rhubarb Chard and Tassel Flower offer color to a mostly green canvas while Windsor Fava Beans enrich our soil and bring thoughts of spring.
From L to R: White Peacock kale, Tassel Flower, and Rhubarb Chard
Gardens can be an incredible visual example of change and transformation. The energetic and dramatic experience a summer garden offers is followed by the tempered colors and cool flavors of fall and winter. As we wind down from Harvest and prepare for the quiet of winter, so too is the garden. Let her rest, we have big plans in mind for next year…