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Four Season Gardening

A portrait of Susy, the author of Chiots Run.In late September I planted 2 raised beds with a mix of different kinds of winter crops.  I covered them with greenhouse plastic to protect them from the weather when it started to turn cold, about 2 weeks before Thanksgiving.  This seems to be working very nicely, we had night time temperatures in the high 20s and the day time temperatures range from the 40s to the 60s.

Mini hoop house from outside

When it's warm in the fall, I pull the covers back and give all the greens a good watering with some Neptune's Harvest.  This should get them through the winter, I don't know if I'll have to worry about watering again after this, I'll keep an eye on them.

Mini hoop house looking in

It looks like these mini greenhouses are providing the right climate for my spinach, it's growing quite prolifically.  I can't wait to have spinach salads all winter long from this bed. I'm also experimenting with a variety of cold hardy lettuces, celery, arugula, leeks, carrots, kohlrabi, bunching onions, and some other cold-tolerant greens.

Mini garden hoop house from the side

At the moment I have 2 raised beds with greenhouse tunnels, one with floating row cover, and one with a cold frame.  The one with the cold frame is going was seeded in November with a variety of winter greens for experimentation to see which ones sprout and do best when started late in the season.  From then on out it looked like our highs  were only going to be in the 40s, so it looks like winter crept up on us here at Chiot's Run.

Arugula salad

I'm hoping that after a few years I'll have a good list of which varieties of greens overwinter well in my climate.  Eventually, I'm hoping to be able to grow a lot more of my vegetables year round instead of relying on someone else's produce during the winter.  (If you want to learn more about four season gardening I'd highly recommend Eliot Coleman's book, The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses.)

How's your winter gardening going?

I can also be found at Chiot's Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, beekeeping, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Simple, Green, Frugal, Co-op,  and you can follow me on Twitter.