I am interested in starting a winter container garden. Can anyone give me some plant ideas. I would prefer no berry plants because I have a puppy who eats everything, and I don't want her to get sick.
Container gardening is so convenient that it's surprising that more people don't take it up. A wide variety of vegetables, herbs and fruit can be grown in pots. Herbs are the most popular, followed by vegetables. People don't choose to grow fruit in containers as frequently as the other edible plants, perhaps because it's considered to be too difficult.
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I got a book out of the library called Container Gardening, maybe you could see if your library has it? I haven't tried much of it, although my friend grows herbs in her window year round :)
Try cold tolerant vegs such as broccoli, kale (which seems to survive any temperature), or collards. That way you can have your greenery and eat it too. If you can provide protection (such as insulating the base pot and tossing a couple layers of row cover over the top) whenever the temperture drops below freezing, many types of spinach, lettuce, and machÃ¨ will produce all winter.
A general rule of thumb (r-e-a-l general) for overwintering in pots is to choose those plants which are tolerant to at least one zone colder than your area. And even so, very few will accept having their root systems frozen (when planted in the ground the surrounding soil acts as insulation). So if your plant is tolerant to zone 6 while you want the pot in zone 7, it will do okay as long as the *root system* is insulated so the roots don't get frozen. Remember that even in winter, pots will need to be watered regularly.
I second the suggestion of mache. It does beautifully in cold weather around here, with a little protection.
A great book about winter vegetable gardening is Eliot Coleman's Four Season Harvest. His basic principles (planting time, care, protection) can be scaled down from full size garden bed to containers.....
I have friends in the Harrisonburg area who grow spinach under light protection every winter. There's nothing like picking fresh young spinach leaves on a snowy February day! Yum, yum!