Tag: winter gardening

Late Fall Gardening

It’s amazing what a basic (read “scrounged”) cold frame or fleece (agricultural fabric) can do in extending the planting and harvesting season. The simple and inexpensive protection makes a huge difference by giving the plants a few more heat degrees and some wind protection.   […]

On Spinach

A month ago, we were under 2 feet of snow with night temperatures in the single digits. This week we garden in short-sleeve shirts and harvest mache, baby lettuce, just-emerging sorrel, baby arugula, escarole and… spinach – lots and lots of spinach. Finally! The spinach […]

On the Value of a Hoophouse

Cost: $100 (mostly recycled materials).Value? priceless.

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After a hard day of trampling paths up & down the hill or shoveling the 22″ of snow that have graced us since Friday (or plowing snow for Keith, including the road and the driveway of several neighbors), we have worked quite an appetite. Tonight dinner is homemade pizza (the dough was rising while I was – of course! – shoveling snow; canned tomato sauce from last summer) and a big mix green salad of lettuces, arugula, mache, parcel, frisee endive – freshly harvested at 4:00 pm today. Dessert? Quince fool (canned quince from last fall). We may even try the quince liqueur. That’s probably still too rough though, so we may have to settle for strawberry liqueur instead… sigh…

Like El at FastGrowTheWeeds, I see my pantry as the traditional dry pantry, the freezer and the fresh outdoor pantry that the hoophouse is. Not only do we eat fresh, but the chicken get to have something green too. Rather precious at the moment. And you know, chickweed grow really well in there, really really well…

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It’s a good thing we build the with metal arches – PVC would have collapsed – and we put the arches closer than suggested…

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I trudged up through the snow to clean it off the hoophouse before the thaw and freeze cycle started. I mostly had to clear by hand. For sure I got exercise today! The garden was blanketed by 20″+ of snow, but inside the hoophouse, it was as beautiful as ever… and smelling so good…

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More on Growing In Hoop Tunnels

This is Swiss Chard in the garden today, unprotected, after weeks of cold weather, night in the teens (F/- 7 C to -12 C) and days of bone-chilling howling winds with gusts at 50 miles/ h (80 km). Not pretty, right? Certainly not much to […]

Snow, What Snow?

2 feet of snow last week-end, temperatures in the lower teens (F/ about -12 C). I have not been in the hoophouse for about a week, and frankly I was not sure how it was going to be in there. Would I have mush? It […]

Start Your Fall Kitchen Garden NOW

Radicchio in early December

Now is when you should start your fall and winter Kitchen Garden.

Truly, there are some things that should be planted in May or June for fall harvesting because those crops take a long time to mature (like celeriac, parsnip, the perennial sunchokes, winter cabbages, winter leeks, Brussels sprouts and a few other things). But they are so many vegetables that can be planted now (and over the next few weeks) for wonderful fresh eating in the fall & winter.

Yes, I know: it’s hot (although not so much here this year, we have not had 100 ° F weather like last year); the gnats are terrible; it’s dry and, yes, it IS (some) work. But what are you going to do in mid-October after you’ve been scrounging around for your last green tomatoes before frost spoils them, wondering if you’ll manage to ripen them inside (don’t you want to eat something else, by then, anyway?) and getting in the winter squashes (you planted winter squash – right?)… With the rapidly declining day length, the sharpening of the air that’s telling you that winter is coming, the birds going south and the cry of the geese overhead, with the nights in the low 40’s, the smell of smoke from the woodstove hanging in the moist air, everything green and fresh is going to be precious, whether a delicate lettuce for a quick salad lunch, or the more robust Lacinata kale – that darling of Tuscan white bean, sausage and kale soup – , or a young, fresh, crisp radish with a little salt & butter. Or a sweet baby carrot, or a bunch of little white turnips to sautée with some whole cumin seeds, or a bouquet of frost-sweetened arugula for the grilled pizza, or some young leeks for braising or… or.. or… you get the idea, I hope (I, on the other hand, am getting hungry – again.) (more…)