Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Over Wintering Hardy Vegetables

As I have done several times in the past I planted carrots, radishes, and spinach in the very late fall to attempt to grow it over the winter.  This winter was very cold and very harsh. I do not have an actual green house (yet) but I set up a makeshift one like I have done before.  

 The front is a double-pane window I picked up alongside the road at someone's house. They put it out for trash. The top and other sides is the plastic from a bed mattress I bought a couple years ago (a queen I think). So the plastic is doubled. The wood box, an old sand box that was my son's 24 years ago, is filled with a mix of sand, compost, screened soil, and chopped dried leaves. I wanted a very clean mix to grow carrots. I also placed six half gallon milk jugs full of water in the box to hopefully mediate the temperature inside the plastic. In the coldest months though the water jugs froze solid. This picture was taken on 11 April 2015.

The results were pretty good.  I planted about 30 carrot seeds and I think most of them germinated and grew. Some of the carrot leaves were burned by the cold and died but almost all the plants survived. I pulled out all the leaves and dead foliage and dug out a few of the carrots. The one carrot shown here is ten inches long.

There are also five spinach plants, out of six that I planted, growing. Now that the sun shines longer they will grow fast. What I have learned from doing this several times before is that mostly roots grow during the winter. That means that the plants are all set for extremely rapid growth once the days are warmer and the sun shines longer. I will start picking spinach leaves in about two weeks.

Below is a bunch of carrots that I picked to take to my other house. I've been eating them for lunch. They are very crisp and sweet with a strong carrot taste. Fresh, organic vegetables in the first week of April; that is hard to beat.

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