The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Early spring garden baby photos

Spring seedlings

I promised you some more baby pictures from my Friday planting, and I also wanted to see for myself if I'd been nuts to set out week-old seedlings. So I poked back under the quick hoops and row covers three days later...and discovered that everyone was not only holding steady but also putting out new growth! I'm sure it didn't hurt that it was warm and rainy during the intervening period, so both top and root shock was minimized. We'll see how well the babies do when the weather turns cool later in the week.

Early spring garden

Some of those babies are under the quick hoop closest to the camera. This spot is new ground created in the last six weeks by broadforking sod, laying down a one-thickness layer of corrugated cardboard, then shoveling good garden soil on top from beds that were in a shady spot and thus weren't providing peak vegetable growth despite high soil quality. I go into this sort of no-till practice in much more depth in my upcoming soil ebook Small-Scale No-Till Gardening Basics, so be sure to preorder a copy or mark your calendar for March 8 if you're interested!

Cold frame

Closer to home, the cold frame is still plugging along. We've been harvesting one small salad's worth of lettuce and/or greens per week from this area all through the coldest parts of winter. I consider that proof positive that soil temperature, not day length, is what keeps greens from producing in the dead of winter.

How's your winter garden growing?

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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My snow peas did great this fall/winter in a sheltered spot of the garden, developping flowers and fruit beyond our Persephone day. We harvested snow peas up to January, when real cold began. However, my Swiss chard under fleece completely stopped development on my Persephone day and has started to grow again when the next Persephone day arrived. I'm thinking that different plants have different day lenght requierements, and that snow peas need less light than Swiss chard. Any htoughts? LucĂ­a

Comment by Lucia Moreno Velo Wed Feb 24 09:47:08 2016
Do you mind sharing a link to the row cover fabric you use? We're planning to use them for the first time, and I seem to remember you having a specific preference.
Comment by Ken Mon Feb 29 09:10:00 2016

Lucia --- I suspect you're entirely right that different plants have different cues to stop growing in the winter. I don't have enough data yet to figure out who needs what, but I definitely buy your light/temperature observations for Swiss chard vs. peas.

Ken --- Not all all. We buy these big rolls from Johnny's. They're not cheap, but even on our scale of growing all of our own vegetables, a roll lasts at least three years. (Actually, when I bought it last, the roll was half that big, which is what lasted three years, so I guess this one would last six.)

Comment by anna Mon Feb 29 09:42:29 2016

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