February 9th, 2009

Winter Greens

Here in Southern Ontario we are experiencing one of the more severe winters in recent history. More snow, much colder temps and certainly less sunshine.  Compared to other winters, it certainly isn’t as pleasant harvesting in the greenhouse without the sun, but I am still delighted that I can do it and have fresh greens.
My greenhouses are unheated and are covered by a single layer of plastic.

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I cover my crops with a single layer of agricultural fabric and that makes all the difference in the world.  I generally scatter my seed in late September for my winter crops and water until I have germination. Then Mother Nature is on her own. I don’t water, weed, or worry about bugs!
Generally I find my crops continue to grow into the first week of November, then growth stops, and the crop simply holds.  I can’t harvest most days until 10-11am, as leaves are frozen solid before that.
The taste of winter greens  is totally different.  The frost makes leaves so sweet-I have to stop myself from eating too much when I’m out there.
The most successful greens for me in the winter are kales, chards,arugulas and mustards.  This year I liked the purple mizuna, leaf radish, and claytonia, as well as tatsoi, and minutina.  Usually winter lettuces will carry on through the winter, but this winter has been a bit too cold. ( Note, the micro-greens in the picture were grown indoors under lights.)

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As much as I am glad to be able to grow all winter, I really was hoping that the groundhog had not seen his shadow yesterday.  6 more weeks of winter, here we come!
Linda Crago
Tree and Twig Heirloom Vegetable Farm

Comments

    Hi Linda, the hoop house is awesome! Do you have photos of its construction or interior? I’d be interested in seeing those.

    Those are amazing photos! Thank you for sharing those. We live in Des Moines, Iowa and certainly don’t see as bad of winters as you do in Canada; however, I am always concerned about snow load on my greenhouse. In fact, I have never attempted to grow greens like lettuce during the really cold winter months. Your photos have inspired me to give it a try!

    Hi Monica,
    This greenhouse is technically a cold frame that we purchased from a dealer. My husband built it for me..I love it. In April I’m going to put another layer of plastic on it with a blower between the two layers of plastic to see how much difference that will make in temp. i think it will be marked.
    I’ll try to get a picture of the interior up for you to see.

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