Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Posted by Kate at 12:25 PM
Our garden beds were under snow for all of February, and still are. I harvested nothing but eggs the entire month. I know there are parsnips out there that I could dig for, but with the snow cover I have only a vague sense of where I would look for them. However, the cold frame has been ramping up over the last few weeks.
Yesterday I was able to harvest a fair bit of spinach, which has come through the winter beautifully. Although 3.7 ounces doesn't sound like a lot, it was more than enough for two omelets. I also removed the most damaged looking leaves and tossed them to the hens, still in their winter quarters, and starving for green things. Defying the 10-hours-of-daylight rule, the spinach grew straight through the winter except right around the solstice. Granted, it was very slow growth in early January, but we didn't get our 10 hours back here until February 2nd. It "shouldn't" have been growing at all with less than 10 hours, but it did.
The Napoli carrots I planted in there last fall have all long since been harvested and eaten. Along with the spinach, they did the best. That's the variety (sadly, a hybrid) that Eliot Coleman refers to as his "candy carrots." The parsley and beets didn't work out so well. The winter density lettuce held on alright until it got really cold. It looks to me as though one rouge d'hiver lettuce plant is going to come back strongly, while the others succumbed. I should probably let that one go to seed and save it. The scallions I planted did so-so. Most of the oniony stuff in there now is a generous contribution from a seed swap.
In early February I casually tossed in arugula seed where the carrots had come out (top center). If you look closely you can see that it has germinated and is beginning to grow. Temperatures have been above freezing during the day for the last week or so. I expect we'll be able to eat that arugula within a few weeks. None too soon as far as I'm concerned. I want green.
Knowing what I now do about what works well in a cold frame in my area, I would concentrate on carrots and spinach if I had only this one cold frame to carry me through the winter. If things go as planned though, we'll have at least a couple more cold frames for next winter.
How's your winter garden holding up? How's your spring garden shaping up?