Your Cold Season Garden
You’ll want to start your winter plants earlier than you think, in early to late August, in order to ensure that they will be big enough to survive and thrive once the frost hits. As the days get shorter the plant will stop growing, but it won’t die.
You can start your plants indoors, in pots or in growing trays, and then transplant them into the ground before the first frost. That way you don’t need to pull out your tomatoes early, for example, in order to get your winter garden growing. If you’re transplanting them, you’ll want the plant to harden off (acclimatize to the cooler fall weather) and get to a good size before planting it in your garden.
You can get your hoops in the ground early and then cover them just before the first frost. Covering your hoops depends on the weather; if you’re having a warm October you may as well let your plants get as much direct sun as possible.
For most of Utah’s climate zones, you won’t need to water your hoop house garden very much. With the amount of precipitation during the fall and early winter and the lower ground temperature, the water doesn't evaporate as much, leaving enough for your plants. If the days stay warmer throughout October, you can hand water with your watering canister.
Because of the shorter daylight hours and the temperature difference, you will most likely only get one harvest out of your winter garden, so it’s a good idea to try and grow as much as possible. Fortunately, a lot of greens can be planted close together to maximize space and yield.
Below is a list of plants that can be grown in the winter. This year, Top Crops is growing unique Chinese greens like bok choy, mizuna, tatsoi and a red mustard green variety called Scarlet Frills.