Thursday, December 3, 2009

December Garden Update - Hoop House Tour Part 2

Last week, I did a post on the winter veggies I have growing currently in a couple of my mini hoop houses. In a nutshell, this one is about what I have in the remaining two. In no particular order:

lettuce spinach arugula bed
In one of my taller hoop houses, I have an assortment of winter greens. I haven't looked inside my homemade slug trap yet. (Gross.) Maybe this weekend.

lettuce mix regrowth
I had done initial cuttings of my lettuce mix in late October and all throughout the month of November. This is the regrowth. As you can see, the quality has diminished a bit, but still, it looks pretty good. I'm hoping to get one more cutting after this before the plants get turned over.

winter spinach
Interestingly enough, I feel as though the growth of my spinach has sped up since I first harvested some of the outer leaves. Maybe it's just my imagination or the cooling weather inside the hoop house, all I know is that if the slugs stay away, I might actually get a decent harvest in a couple of weeks.

wild arugula
The wild arugula is going strong still. I have to admit that I've been a bit remiss in harvesting it. I don't know why since I'm sure it would be delicious in between two slices of artisan bread with say some goat cheese and bacon (yum). Maybe I'll do that this weekend. In the meantime, I've given my neighbor free reign over it.

lettuce mix seedlings
In a bare spot where the Hakurei turnips had been, I finally got around to sowing some more lettuce mix...

pak choi
...and pak choi. It'll be interesting to see what will become of these sowings (if anything).

winter carrots - napoli
In my remaining hoop house, I have primarily a bed of winter carrots (Napoli), which I have yet to touch (aside from the random sampling). Hopefully with a bit of added protection, I can harvest these all winter long.

I also offered my neighbor some space inside this hoop house to overwinter her parsley...

...and chives. I love the thought of fresh herbs during the coldest months.

green manure
Aside from the Chinese flowering kale, spinach and carrots I have housed under quick hoops, the only other thing growing in my garden right now is a couple beds of green manure. Hopefully these nitrogen-fixing plants will help to enrich the soil in time for next spring's plantings.

Finally, if there are any other gardeners attempting to grow a winter garden in zones 5, 6 (where I am) and 7 this year, please raise your hands! I'd love to read about your experiences!


  1. Thomas - you are the man when it comes to winter gardening! That lettuce really is beautiful!

  2. Your winter garden looks great!! We are trying a small winter garden for the first time this year also. Zone 5 Utah. We have ours in a 4x8 cold frame with plexi glass lights. So far so good. We did it as an experiment and it is going so well we wish we would have built 2 or 3 more frames. The lettuce has been the best we've ever grown (although it is just about gone). The spinish is doing realy well and the carrots taste like your eating a candy cane!!! We will definatly be planting a lot more next year.

  3. EG- thanks! We'll see how much of a master I am a month or two from now. Hopefully the weather will cooperate. Winter gardening is definitely more perilous than summer gardening.

    Anonymous - thanks for sharing! And congratulations on your early success! Lettuce definitely thrives in colder weather. Hopefully you will update me on your progress as the winter progresses. To grow a winter garden in zone 5 is no small task I'm sure!

  4. I still have some greens going, but as I didn't build a hoop house this fall, I expect I'll lose them once the really cold weather sets in. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying them a lot!

    I'm south of you in Massachusetts, near the Rhode Island line.

  5. I peaked in on mine yesterday, greens and carrots are quite happy. The winter rye I sowed is coming up as well, I posted a couple of pictures. Today I should take one of the cold frame.

    I am not sure if you have space, but if you can find room some water jugs or bricks will help keep things a bit warmer when the weather really turns.

  6. Your winter crops look superior Thomas! The lettuce mix is just plain pretty to look. There's nothing like a bowl of baby mixed greens - young lettuces of different colors, baby spinach, a little corn salad (mache) - in the dark cold days of winter. It's like a tonic for the body and soul.

  7. I was going to pick some spinach for Thanksgiving (soup) but it was so slug ridden by that time that I've decided just to try to overwinter it. I was hoping to be able to pick it over the winter, but nope. All I have for the winter is two dwarf kale plants. That won't last long at all. Today I'm picking all the other things out of the garden. With freezes on and off for the next week I think it is time to put my fall garden to bed.

    I hope your winter garden does well. I'll be watching it to see how much you get over the winter.

  8. Lovely winter garden. When Vic and I lived on a small farm in Higganum CT, we picked brussels sprouts for Christmas. Vic dug them out from under the snow. We started our spring garden on St. Patrick's Day every year, sowing peas and lettuce. Now that we're in southern California, I can garden year round, although the crops are different in each season. Good job!

  9. Your fall crops are really doing excellent. Love all the sunshine in your photos too! My garden has pretty close to zero direct sun in the fall & early winter. The mixed greens look nice, were did the seed come from?

  10. Fabulous pictures and info. Even though we garden in opposite seasons, I am reading your blog with great interest.

  11. wow, beautiful! I got to my new farm too late to do a winter garden this year, so will be watching yours and drooling instead. (btw, you might like wild arugula just barely wilted in olive oil, with toasted pinenuts and goat cheese, tossed with pasta.)