I know many of my fellow gardeners both love and hate this word at the same time “winter”. It is inevitable here in the Midwest, although not from last year’s perspective. It is a time to let the much of the garden rest so it can be reborn in the spring. After the equinox (Mabon) and the high holy days, I usually take out the last of the summer vegetables and begin the preparation for winter planting and the senescence of the rest of the garden. I consulted the farmer’s almanac this morning and decided today was a good day to get my winter vegetables in the ground and to get the greenhouses on the bed.
The vegetables I put in the ground in August are popping up and should last through a couple of frosts but then that bed will have to be laid to rest for the winter with a nice crop of winter rye. The other bed will hold my garlic which I will put down once I pull the declining tomato plants out. That bed will be covered with straw to maintain the soil integrity and to provide good material to till in the spring.
However, now I am pleased to have a third composite raised bed that I added some weeks ago. This bed has been resting to allow the soil amendments I added to get incorporated and begin to break down, it has also allowed some rain to homogenize the soil mix I put in the bed. So this morning bright and early I got my boots on and went out! We had rain over the last day or so; this puts the soil in optimum condition for planting. I planted radishes, turnips, parsnips, carrots and beets. I also planted a nice hearty winter salad mix of spinach, chard, frisee and other lettuces that work well in cool temperatures.
Once everything was tucked into the bed and been given a good watering to ensure good seed to soil contact and to start the germination process, I began to install the greenhouse. Some of you may recall that I purchased a greenhouse kit from Frame It All. This half bed greenhouse provided insulation, protection and warmth throughout our very mild winter last year and allowed me to harvest delicate lettuces and a few other vegetables all the way through the winter. I was so impressed that I purchased a second greenhouse. The ingenious design allows two to be put on a full bed and zipped together giving me about 36 square feet of winter planting space.
I struggled a little with the fact that the one greenhouse I purchased two years ago and the new one have slightly different parts…..the good people at Frame It All were kind enough to agree to ship me some parts that will make both of the kits the same. In the interim, I managed to get the kits together by some makeshift means (a gardener must always be prepared to improvise!). Once I figured out a method of installing both old and new on the new bed the assembly was easy and quick.
As you can see, the greenhouse is on, stable and already protecting my precious winter vegetable hoard….Hopefully this will allow me to grow at least until January when the dead of winter sets in here in Ohio….with the predictions and my knowledge of after-drought winters, I am not sure I will be able to harvest much in late January or February.
Best of luck for all your winter gardening!!