Winter Garden Update

The New Year started off with bitter cold weather here. Overnight lows got down in the single digits, and the temps did not get above freezing for 11 days in a row. Despite that, we still have winter hardy veggies growing here. They may not be thriving in the cold temps, but they are surely surviving.

The plants in the two cold frames don’t look bad at all. There are several varieties of lettuce, as well as escarole and some young pak choi plants. Spinach seed has been sown but hadn’t yet germinated when I took the photo. It should be ready to harvest in March.

The first cold frame has wooden walls made from 2x8s and was covered only with Reemay type material, while the other one has twin-wall polycarbonate sides and top. The green pot is covering a vole exit hole and has a mouse trap under it baited with peanut butter. No luck yet on catching the vole, but at least they haven’t snatched any more plants!

cold frame in January

cold frame in January

lettuce in cold frame

lettuce in cold frame

Inside the greenhouse things are also looking pretty good. I added some supplemental heat in there during the cold spell, but even then lows got down to 17F one night, and stayed below freezing for several days. The lettuce plants below were unfazed.

Simpson Elite and New Red Fire lettuces

Simpson Elite and New Red Fire lettuces

And finally, this Red Choi pak choi is holding up nicely. The slugs ate on it a little bit early on, but they left plenty for us to feast on. We had some for dinner this week. After a quick stir-fry with some shiitake mushrooms and garlic, I gave it a dash of soy sauce and a bit of Umeboshi vinegar. We also enjoyed some freshly dug carrots this week. They got roasted in the oven, seasoned with olive oil, cumin and garlic. Our January harvests may not be as large or varied as our summer ones, but I think we appreciate them even more!

Red Choi pak choi in the greenhouse

Red Choi pak choi in the greenhouse

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5 Responses to Winter Garden Update

  1. How wonderful that you can enjoy pak choi in the middle of winter from your own garden :^)

  2. Those carrots sound yummy! We really don’t need greenhouses in our climate. I admire those who go to such trouble to grow these beautiful vegetables. I confess I am a lazy gardener. I could be growing lots of cool season veggies outside in my garden right now, but I don’t because I enjoy a couple months off. But seeing your lettuces reminds me that I definitely want to plant some next month.

  3. Thomas says:

    Your winter greens look great! I love the color of that pak choi. Have you tasted you lettuce lately? I’m finding that my winter lettuce is tasting awfully bitter. Do you know if they will become palatable again when the weather warms up?

    • Villager says:

      Thomas, I have not noticed any bitterness in our lettuce. It could be the varieties I grow. Hard to say, really, why yours is. Ours has been frozen several times, and that hasn’t seemed to make it bitter. Of course it doesn’t make it sweeter either, like it does kale and other greens. There are so many variables in growing veggies that it is always a challenge!

  4. Annie says:

    That lettuce looks good! I have got to ask my hubby to build me a or two of these coldframes. Did you catch the vole yet?

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