Living Off Grid - How we grow winter vegetables

| 4/20/2012 12:15:35 PM

Tags: off grid, living off grid, grow winter vegetables, cold weather veggies, Ed Essex,

StartsI think we have established in past blogs that sustainability is a good thing and anything you can do in that regard is good. One of the ways we have attempted to become more sustainable is to grow our own food. The advantages are obvious but it’s okay if we state the obvious over and over until all of us get it. Food safety and independence are two good reasons to grow your own food. 

We had a pretty good size garden the first year we moved here and we canned food from the garden for the winter. This year I am going to build a storage bin in our garage to store root vegetables like potatoes and carrots. This past year we just put them in a box in the garage.
One whole wall of our garage is built out of concrete and is basically underground, much like a basement wall. The two ends of the garage are insulated and the other long wall is the living space from the house and therefore heated. The end result is that even though our temperatures can go below zero degrees Fahrenheit, the garage never freezes. It’s just like a root cellar.

I’m going to build triangular corner shelving out of plywood and wood framing and put a fairly large lip on the outside edge of the shelves to form a box to put sawdust and vegetables in. Even without sawdust, our potatoes at this time are just like they were coming out of the ground. Very few sprouts!

Between the new storage bins and canning, I think food storage is adequate for the year. Our garden produces June through September and we can easily grow enough vegetables to last us all year, but what about winter fresh veggies?

First PlantingI had read an article in one of our garden magazines years ago about a guy in Wisconsin who claimed that if you attached a raised bed or planter to the side of the house, you could plant vegetables in the winter and they would not freeze so we just had to give it a try and the picture to the left is what we ended up with - insulated raised bed/cold frames.

They are attached to the south end of the house. The panels are insulated with double wall polycarbonate and the beds are completely filled with dirt. Neither of the beds is heated.

7/31/2016 4:03:38 PM

Hi, could you please tell us more about using plastic jugs for warmth? Do you just paint them black, fill them with water and set them near your plants or is there more to it? ~Thanks

karen engelsen
5/2/2012 4:25:47 AM

Dude! If you REALLY are serious about winter gardening, see this website for a 4 season greenhouse that works in the dead of a Minnesota winter: I visited there when the windchill was -25 in February, & their greenhouse was a toasty 75 degrees. USING PASSIVE SOLAR!!! Seriously, I think it's a game-changer for self-reliance.

4/24/2012 1:55:09 AM

That's disgusting Tim you should be ashamed of yourself, seriously I can't believe my eyes!

tim fulks
4/22/2012 11:15:55 AM

Some rigid foam insulation around the interior of the block wall would go along way for added insulation.

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