Cold Frames, Fresh Greens and Homegrown Roots

| 12/10/2011 4:28:56 PM

Tags: winter gardening, squash leek soup, winter cooking, southern exposure, cold frames, fresh garden cooking, Ira Wallace,

winter plant starts at Southern Exposure 

Right now our garden is full of all kinds of fresh greens for salads and cooking. We particularly enjoy the tasty, fast growing, winter hardy greens like New Star Mustard and Even’ Star Winter Arugula from Brett Grosghal of Even’ Star Farm in Maryland.

  more cold frames at the SESE farm 

If you just got the year-round garden bug you might consider making quick and cheap homemade cold frames or a wire low tunnel. We set up a simple straw  bale cold frame with 9 yr old kalwall covers, a scrap wood  cold frame with used window  covers and a bed covered with a Reemay Garden Blanket, just before Thanksgiving to see what we can start from seed during what Elliot Coleman calls the “Persephone Days.” (This is the period from Nov 21- Jan21 when light is lowest and plant growth slows to a crawl.) Most of our winter garden was already sown by August or September, but we’re experimenting starting quick growing greens and radishes further into winter.
 cold frames at the Southern Exposure experimental gardens 

Yesterday, Irena and I went out to see what had germinated from my Nov 28 sowings.  It was no surprise to find full rows of tiny curly cress and arugula seedlings as well as a good showing of Bronze Arrow lettuce seedlings in the straw bale cold frame.  The celery and all of the herb transplants were also looking good in both cold frames.  The plants under a Reemay blanket were doing fine except that it looks like the area has become a favorite playground for our 2 dogs. Paw prints dotted the beds.  We will put up wire hoops and hope that will make the bead less appealing to Odin and Odessa.

Odin Not Running Around
Inspired by all the winter produce on our farm, we are starting a new tradition: Homegrown Friday, a concept borrowed from our friend, bio-intensive mini-farming teacher Cindy Conner of Homeplace Earth. Cindy serves dinners featuring home grown food in every dish each Friday in Lent.   We started on the first Friday in December and will end on the first Friday of Spring, to celebrate the end of winter.


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