January Garden Update

I took advantage of the clouds yesterday afternoon and grabbed my camera to take some garden photos. Cloudy conditions usually make for better outside shots, even though I am usually happier to see sunshine. We’ve had a mild winter so far, and that has left things growing a bit better than normal – whatever normal is these days! Most of the garden action this time of year is going on in and around the greenhouse.

greenhouse in January (click on any image to enlarge)

The greenhouse beds and benches are full of growing things. Just walking in there is a bit of a challenge, but I try and take advantage of every bit of growing space. I’ve got some onions growing in containers that I have been harvesting as needed as scallions. These were planted from sets and plants I got last fall (more on that later).

be careful where you step in the greenhouse!

I also have salad boxes planted with various greens. The mini salad box in the photo below was planted with a Misticanza mix from Seeds of Italy. It should be ready for harvesting soon.

mini salad box with Misticanza mix

Several of our potted rosemary plants are spending the winter on the greenhouse bench. One is covered in blooms at the moment – talk about an overachiever! That’s some Simpson Elite lettuce growing behind it in a container.

rosemary in bloom

Another of the mini salad boxes is planted with arugula. With arugula planted inside the greenhouse and outside in one of the cold frames, we are unlikely to run out of one of our favorite greens any time soon.

mini salad box with arugula

The two greenhouse beds are planted with a variety of hardy vegetables and herbs. Lettuce, spinach, pak choi, mizuna, maruba santoh, chard, parlsey and onions are currently growing there.

greenhouse beds

Outside the greenhouse, the cold frames are covering an assortment of plants as well. The first cold frame is planted entirely in spinach, and has been keeping us supplied for a couple of months now. The varieties planted are Space, Giant Winter and Viroflay.

cold frame #1 with spinach

The second cold frame is planted in lettuce. All the varieties are doing great so far, as are the weeds. Of course chickweed is edible, as long as it doesn’t choke out everything else. But that’s not the only ‘weed’ in there. Looks like some weeding is in order!

cold frame #2 with lettuce

The third cold frame is a mix of Asian greens and arugula. The komatsuna on the right has gotten so big it gets some of the leaves smashed by the cold frame lid. I’ll have to rethink my planting strategy next year, though it hasn’t really hurt the plants that much. I’ve harvested some of the pak choi already, cutting it near the soil line so it will sprout again. The dark green leaves in the middle are Yukina Savoy.

cold frame #3 with Asian greens and arugula

The fourth cold frame is planted with mostly lettuce and a little tatsoi. It was planted later than the others, so it’s not quite as far along. Still, it has made good growth for this time of year. If all the lettuce in the cold frames survives the winter, we will be eating a lot of salads!

cold frame #4

The last cold frame is planted with senposai, which is a komatsuna/cabbage cross. This is my first time overwintering it, so it will be interesting to see how it performs. So far, it’s doing great.

cold frame #5 with senposai

This year I am conducting an experiment with growing onions. I planted Walla Walla slips back in mid October, then I covered the bed with a low tunnel arrangement using Agribon material. Hopefully by giving the onions some protection I will improve my chances of success in overwintering them.

onion bed covered with Agribon material

As of early January, the onions seem to be doing nicely under cover. I also planted some red and white onion sets in another bed in early November, and covered them with straw. My hope is that these plantings will give us onions earlier than usual this spring and summer. I also planted some of the sets and slips in containers for use as scallions.

onions growing under cover

That’s a look at how the gardens are growing here in January. Winter gardening results are always unpredictable here, but this season is looking like it will be a good one so far. I hope you have enjoyed the tour!

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17 Responses to January Garden Update

  1. Marcia says:

    WOW! That’s all I can say! WOW!

  2. Bee Girl says:

    Your cold frames are absolutely amazing! So many happy greens growing!!! I really must figure out a cold frame for next year! Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Jaime Haney says:

    Beautiful! I have never tried cold frames because I’m afraid I’ll just be lazy and not go out to lift the cover up an down when it’s sunny. Do you have to tend to them everyday?

    • Dave says:

      These cold frames that I made are covered with the Agribon polyester material, so there is no need to lift the lid every day. In our zone 6 climate, that is plenty of protection. The material lets in rain and light, but keeps the wind out. If you get a lot of snow, you might need a more sturdy material, but for us it works.

  4. Lynda says:

    Good Grief! Your garden/greenhouse/grow tunnels make me look like such a garden loser! I am so impressed…gotta’ go the garden is calling me!

  5. Rick says:

    Dave your cold frames look beautiful. It’s amazing the difference one Zone makes. We are a 5b and I can’t seem to keep lettuce alive through December and January, even in a cold frame covered with plexi-glass and the heavy row cover material inside. Oh well, we have plenty of carrots and a few other hardy greens. I’ll put some more lettuce out in about 6 weeks!!

    Thanks so much for the tour, it is great to see what others are doing in their gardens!!

  6. LynnS says:

    The cool crops look great. You need a sign saying, “Come for a visit. Bring a salad bowl.” Seriously, you’ve got dinner there!

    I’ve overwintered onions before, some by overlooking them, but most for setting seed the following year. I’ve never used any spun cloth so there might be a big difference there. Those I have overwintered and pulled to eat were mushy on the outer layers. I’ll be curious to see how yours perform with the cloth protection — just might be all that’s needed.

    I am stunned that your Rosemary is actually blooming! Are you using supplemental light and/or heat in your greenhouse? There isn’t a chance that I can grow in my greenhouse without heat during Winter (and I’m zone 6b/7a). I’ve gotten too cheap to use propane until late Jan/early Feb. We’ll be filling 4 tanks this coming weekend — ouch! 😉

  7. You sure do have a lot going on in the greenhouse! And it all looks great to boot… The cold frames look like they’re doing very well for you (and I noticed you seem to have the same type of spreading weed we do 🙂 ). Everything looks great.

  8. Norma Chang says:

    Is your greenhouse heated? I never tried cold frame, wonder how successful it would be in zone 5? Your sure have a lot growing in January, looking forward to see what you grow in February.

  9. Jody says:

    Look at all that food! Your onion experiment is genius. We are expecting great results.

  10. Liz says:

    I do like those mini salad boxes – I just need to find some spare wood….your garden looks fabulous – I have pretty much run out of lettuce, a problem I don’t iamge you’ll have any time soon….

  11. Glad the Agribon is working out for you. Our gardens here just wouldn’t be the same without it. In fact, if it wasn’t for the row covers this last fall, all of our Brassicas would have been obliterated by the cabbage loopers. It’s pretty much required attire for the gardens now.

    Your greenhouse is absolutely brimming! Ours is getting crowded, but I can still get in the front door! I love the boxes you use for your greens, and that box #2 is just gorgeous. Where’s my fork!?

  12. Daphne says:

    Your plants all look wonderful. All I have in the garden right now is tatsoi, kale, and spinach. Oh and of course the self seeded cilantro that I’m just shocked is doing so well. I think I’m going to pick a lot of the tatsoi on Thursday. It is supposed to get to 4F over the long weekend so I figured I’d better pick a lot of it. I know from experience if I let it go too long it will die. Though with the warmth this year this just might be the year it makes it until spring.

  13. kitsapFG says:

    Wonderful winter gardening efforts – inspiring! I love the cold frame with the rows of lettuces, so tidy and the red row add some real visual appeal. Your variety is excellent and the health and vigor of the plants very impressive. Good work!

  14. Mike says:

    Looks great! We just ordered our Komatsuna seeds from Baker Creek. I am excited to try it.

  15. Kelly says:

    That is such a wonderful set-up, now I am craving a giant salad! I hope those onions make it through the winter successfully for you!

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