Winter Garden Prep 2012

[pictured: baby winter lettuces -- my fastest growing variety. There is also a new variety of multiplier onion interplanted here, which I am testing.]

A lot of you have been asking how my winter garden prep is going, so I thought I’d share a few pictures.

[two large cold frames. The one on the left is protecting peas and multiplier onions. The one on the right is protection lentils and baby cabbages.]

Winter garden preparation is pretty simple -- plant the winter seeds, and cover the mature plants that I want to last through the winter. My vegetable-by-vegetable guide to winter gardening (the first ever published in the U.S. to my knowledge) is coming out in April, and goes to press in the first week of November.

[pictured: This glass door was on our house for many years, but a few weeks ago we replaced it. I’m just setting it on top of baby lettuces in the raised bed.]

I should also note that two nights ago we had our first hard freeze of winter -- it got down to 24 degrees. Just the first of many. We’ve also had about six more minor freezes (28-32 degrees). I have ten cold frames out right now.

[pictured: The glass house cold frame is protecting baby cabbages and baby cantaloupes. The other two are protecting winter lettuces.]

Here is what I have planted from seed in the last few days and weeks:
- multiplier onions (have not been in a cold frame yet).
- about ten varieties of winter lettuce (some proven, some as tests; some are in cold frames, others are not just because I’ve run out of cold frames.)
- a new Chinese kale (doing excellently so far; it has been in a cold frame).
- leeks (just sprouted, not in a cold frame yet).
- a very rare winter onion (seeds just sprouted outside today, Oct. 8; not in a cold frame yet)
- winter peas (in a cold frame)
- Swiss chard (growing like weeds, about 1.5 inches tall; not in a cold frame yet)
- baby cabbages, up to six inches tall, both in and out of cold frames and all doing well.
- baby carrots, thriving and not in a cold frame.
- my largest-ever planting of winter wheat (up and doing nicely; not in a frame and never will be)
- winter cantaloupe (doing great so far, but it is just in a cold frame and needs desperately to be transplanted to a hot bed. I have four baby plants, and two leaves on one of them froze the night it was 24 degrees).
- I also have fall bush beans in a cold frame. They are just going into flower and are doing excellently.
- Here is a list of the mature vegetables still in the garden: beets, turnips, Swiss chard, collard greens, lentils, rutabaga, brussels sprouts, longkeeper corn, carrots, cabbages, and herbs also in the garden, all without any protection and doing very well.

[pictured: frost-killed Italian zucchini]

So far it’s looking like another happy winter of fresh garden eating :) -Caleb

1 comment:

  1. Just a quick question about your cold frames: do you need a pretty nice fit between the cold frame and the garden bed,or are some gaps ok during the winter? I built a raised bed on some rocks and gravel using cinder blocks, which makes for an uneven bed and some glaring gaps between frame and bed. Wondering if I need to fix that and how.... Thanks! Loved your classes an couple months ago!