Winter greens under quick hoops after cold spell
I promised you a peek under
hoops, but it took a
few days for the snow to thaw enough that the edges of the fabric
weren't frozen down. Winter lows have so far dropped to 10
degrees Fahrenheit, and we've had a few days where even the highs
remained below freezing --- a pretty good test.
(You might want to read
winter greens I'm growing first. Also, sorry
about the smudge on the camera lens.)
The bad news is that our
two varieties of Asian greens are pretty much kaput. They were
vigorous and productive in the fall, but I probably should have
harvested them harder and planned to completely eat them up before cold weather
hit. Instead, I left a lot behind, hoping they'd be strong enough
to keep going into the winter, and most of those stored leaves turned
to inedible mush. Live and learn!
On the other hand, our
Black-seeded Simpson lettuce fared much better than I expected.
Although several leaves did get nipped, the majority of the plants look
healthy and ready to eat.
I didn't expect much from our
mustard since two varieties (Tendergreen and Broadleaf) had started to
bolt in the sunny December weather. I was wrong! The
mustard looked nearly untouched by the cold weather and Giant mustard
(the one variety that didn't bolt) has plenty of leaves to get us
through another couple of weeks until growth starts back up.
Of course, the kale is still just as delicious
looking as it was last week, and our Hakurei turnips might actually be
putting out new leaves (although small and slowly.)
But here's a surprise ---
Fordhook Giant Swiss chard, out in the open with no quick hoop covering,
is still alive and doing pretty well! I didn't think the Swiss
chard even deserved protection because the colorful stalked varieties
I've grown previously have wimped out over the winter. But
reports that Fordhook Giant is a much more winter hardy variety seem to
be founded in fact. I guess we'll stick to the "ugly" variety and
turn Swiss chard into a winter standby!
All told, our greens and
lettuce beds have given us at least sixty meals so far --- pretty good
for the minimal effort of tossing down seeds, weeding and mulching
once, then erecting quick hoops. I thought I'd planted too many
beds, but there's really no such thing as too much fresh food in the
Our chicken waterer keeps the flock busy on cold
days when they're all cooped up.
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