Sunday, March 20, 2011

Winter gardening success

In previous years, I would have only been starting seeds in my basement in March, but this year, I'm already weeding, watering, and harvesting!

Back in December, I first told you about our winter garden. We continued to enjoy fresh salad for a few more weeks after I wrote that post, but towards the end of December, I realized that I had not planted enough to last us all winter. However, because I wanted to know how this worked, I decided that I should leave everything in the garden rather than continuing to harvest. And I am excited to report that it worked great! The low tunnels even survived the Blizzard of 2011.

Earlier this week, I opened up the low tunnels to see how everything had survived. Salads greens were thriving.

But the most exciting thing was that the cole crops, which were only tiny transplants in September, were now quite large, and there was actually broccoli ready to harvest! My favorite thing about winter gardening is that there no pests! I've tried putting cole crops in the garden in spring and in fall, and the bugs just eats the poor things until the outer leaves look like lace. The broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbages are absolutely pristine.

We are already making plans for next winter's low tunnels. We will definitely have more, but rather than mixing up lettuces and cole crops in each tunnel, I will plant each tunnel based upon when the crop will be harvested. This year, I mixed up three of the low tunnels, although I did plant the northernmost tunnel with cole crops and lettuce seeds that I didn't plan to harvest until now, so I never opened that one all winter. The cole crops in that one are huge compared to the cole crops in the tunnels from which I harvested through December. Coincidence? Perhaps, but it also makes it easier to harvest from the beds during the winter if I don't have to work around the cole crops. I am also hoping that we can put up a high tunnel so that I won't be on my hands and knees in the snow harvesting in the middle of winter.


LindaG said...

That's really great to see that it worked so well. Congratulations! :)

Mama Pea said...

How cool! And the thing is it WILL be better next year because of what you learned this year. Broccoli with no worms . . . ah, 'tis my dream!

Robert Blackburn, Jr. said...

How are plants watered in the tunnels if they are not opened regularly?

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

Depending upon how short your days get in winter, the plants stop growing and go into a state of extremely slow/no growth from about mid-November to mid-February, and they don't need to be watered. Mine were not watered from later November until mid-March.

Jan said...

I think we'll do tunnels next year. My spinach that was planted in October came up and was doing very well in March until the deer found it and chewed it to the ground!


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