Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Winter Garden Review

I tried to grow some produce in the greenhouse over the winter. It was an experiment, and I expected to harvest more information than actual produce.

Now, we were still harvesting fresh tomatoes through the end of the year. The vines were dying, and were dead by then, but the fruit was good.

But we had some winter-specific crops. This kale was probably the biggest success. this grew, start to finish - in the greenhouse over the winter.

I also grew some beets. As a root crop, they were both unnecessary and unsuccessful (beets over-winter in the garden pretty well), but as a crop of beet-greens, they worked pretty well.

We grew some salad as well. Again, not an overwhelming success, but it was a success.

The (very) limited number of daylight hours was probably our biggest enemy. I did not supplement them artificially.

Given how much sun carrots want, I shouldn't be surprised that they did not thrive in the winter. Like beets, mature carrots over-winter in the garden quite well. This is more of a "why bother" for a winter greenhouse garden.

This was an experiment. In the middle of January, I planted a celery butt (organic, Trader Joe's). It seems to be planning to give me real celery this year.

Perhaps the greatest successes  in this winter garden experiment was the garlic. I haven't harvested it yet (not ready).

I planted some in maybe September of 2012, and it is looking like it's getting close to harvesting.

I planted quite a bit more in November: some in pots indooors, some in the garden, outdoors. The indoor garlic sprouted relatively quickly, and has been slowly growing. The outdoor garlic just sprouted this week.

I also planted cabbage last fall, thinking it would grow in the greenhouse. It did grow, but without enough sun, it didn't grow enough to harvest. But it gave me the best cabbage sprouts I've ever had: the fall ones were maybe halfway done (and seem to have transplanted well!) The mid-winter ones are larger than the sprouts that the garden center will start selling in a couple of months, but they're not real cabbage plants yet.

For next year, I'm going to skip the carrots. I'll probably do more of the cabbagey things: cabbage, broccoli, kohl rabi. I'll probably do the garlic thing again. But I've got more research to do before fall: this was a good start, but we didn't eat much from the greenhose or garden this past winter.

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