Posted on: December 1, 2016 | Written By: Doug Oster |
A chilling wind blows through the garden on the first day of December while harvesting greens with a pair of scissors. Even though temperatures in the are in the 30’s, there are still beds filled with plants..
One of the thrills of fall gardening is attempting to grow year round. In September I started planting lettuce, herbs, mustard greens, collards, arugula, onions and other cool weather crops. The process continued through early November.
Every bed is protected from the cold one way or another.
The best success comes from the plants growing in cold frames. They are little unheated greenhouses in the garden. Cold frames can take many forms, even bales of straw with a window on top will work.
Mine are angled at 35 degrees and facing south to take advantage of the low angle of the sun during the season.
There are also three gallon pots planted with Swiss chard covered with clear dry cleaning bags.
Some beds are covered with plastic skylights like the ones used on the cold frames.
Other beds are covered with floating row covers. They are a lightweight spun bound translucent fabric that act as a greenhouse.
It’s always a mystery as to how much will over winter.
During a mild winter it can be as much as 75 percent or higher. For a brutal season it can be much lower. Crops that do survive until spring will hit the ground running as soon as the weather breaks and the greens can be harvested into early summer.
The salad above will be served for dinner. One of my grown kids is stopping over for dinner. He’s been raised on “weird” garden salads filled with spicy greens and can’t get enough when he returns. It’s always a great feeling to watch the family enjoying things out of the garden, especially this late in the season.