Here’s what to plant this season ::

Here’s what to plant this season ::

Temperatures fall and the days get shorter. This can only mean one thing: It’s winter in North Carolina!

If you are like most of us, you spent your fall driving across the state and marveling at the amazing fall foliage every time. While The Tar Heel State looks great in every season, it’s really coming alive at this time of year.

In between campfires and Christmas lights, your schedule can be pretty close to the latest. A conservatory can provide a respite, joy and reward. Although the last summer tomatoes may be long gone, there is plenty to grow and enjoy.

You can fill the garden and pantry with a few of these go-to crops that do well in this particular climate. If you thought the growing season was coming, let this guide inspire you to keep going!

Flowers to plant

You may already know that pansies and viola are some of the most cold-hardy plants available. Available in a variety of colors from sunshine yellow to deep plum, these are the cornerstones of any NC conservatory.

The best part? With a little TLC, they retain their sweet look and brilliant color throughout the winter. They will even survive a frost or freeze, although they may seem a little shocked or wither in the days after.

Plant a few rows of flowers in your kitchen garden to add a splash of color to the room. They do well in the soil, but can also thrive in containers and raised beds. Similar cold-tolerant flower varieties include:

  • Winter jasmine
  • Primuluses
  • Sweet alyssum
  • Winter iris
  • Christmas rose
  • Snowdrops

As long as you keep your garden well watered and maintained, you can enjoy these beautiful flowers for months to come!

Green leaves

Everyone knows that winter is the unofficial Slow Cooker season. When it’s already dark before you leave the office, there’s nothing like coming home to a smoking hot bowl of soup or stew.

However, you will need a crispy salad to balance the hearty dishes. This is where you will be glad you planted a conservatory in NC! While your summer rows may have been filled with sweet peppers, watermelons and Better Boys, this month’s all about leafy greens.

Be sure to leave plenty of room for all these beloved salad standouts, including:

  • Salad
  • Cabbage
  • Collards
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Chard

In addition, you can also plant a few rows of Brussels sprouts at this time of year. So, every time you feel like something fresh, you can just go outdoors with a pair of garden shears!

Whether you are starting them indoors from seed or taking the fast track with seedlings from the garden center, the key is to get these vegetables into the ground as early as possible. This will give them time to acclimatize before the soil becomes too hard or frozen.

Solid root vegetables

What is a traditional winter stew without lots of salty root vegetables? When you have plenty on hand, you are just a few ingredients away from one of the most nutritious and filling meals. At the same time, root vegetables also taste great roasted, baked or grilled for a quick and easy side dish.

Forget filling up your shopping cart. When you plant these in your garden, you can enjoy the freshest abundance! A few of our favorites include:

  • Carrots
  • majroer
  • Pastinak
  • Beets
  • Radishes

These crops can be a little challenging to grow successfully from a transplant. Especially if you are starting from cooler temperatures, we recommend starting them directly from seeds. This way you can control all aspects of their growth environment and slowly get them used to the outdoors.

Fragrant, delicious herbs

If you have ever pulled a crispy rosemary bread out of the oven, then you know that the right herbs can definitely bring a meal to life. Fortunately, you can grow lots in a conservatory in North Carolina!

Like pansies and viola, there are plenty of cold-hardy herbs that do well in these cool months. These include:

  • Lavender
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Mint
  • Germander
  • St. John’s Wort

All of these plants will retain their foliage and structure through the fall and winter. However, it is best to use a light hand when harvesting. A gentle pinch can help your herbs last as long as possible, even when they start to look a little thin.

In addition to their culinary uses, herbs also make beautiful edging plants in your garden!

Tips for maintaining a conservatory in NC

Once your plants are in the ground, you naturally want them to live as long as possible. To help them maintain their appearance and quality, check your soil frequently.

Make sure it stays moist and take the time to thin out any seedlings that appear. At the same time, make sure that you have given plenty of space for the plants to spread when they start to grow.

If you live in an area that routinely experiences significant frost or snow, then it is a good idea to invest in durable row covers. These are made of strong fabric and are designed to protect your crops from falling victim to a severe cold. Not only do row covers keep the cool rain away from your delicate plants, but they also help warm the soil beneath them for a real win-win.

What do you want to plant in your conservatory?

When we say goodbye to autumn, it’s time to look forward to all the fun and excitement that winter brings. Although you may think of gardening as more of a spring and summer activity, you can enjoy this hobby all year round.

Fill your conservatory with the flowers, vegetables and herbs described above. Then sit back and admire all your hard work, preferably with your hands wrapped around a mug of something warm.


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