December Greenhouse Tour

Here in early December the weather outside is seasonably cold, with lows dipping down below freezing most nights and down to a frosty 20°F this morning. But inside the protected environment of the greenhouse lots of things are still growing. I use my homemade salad boxes to grow greens in there most of the time, and I’ve got four of them in use right now. That’s a good use for the tables this time of year when not much is happening with seed starting or transplanting activities.

greenhouse table

greenhouse table

I just recently planted the biggest box with lettuce seedlings. It’s a mix of varieties, leftovers from planting in the cold frame and greenhouse beds. In no particular order there’s Baby Oakleaf, Outstanding, Jester, Simpson Elite, Tango, Winter Density and Radichetta. It should make for a nice mix of colors and textures in the salad bowl.

big salad box with lettuce

big salad box with lettuce

Moving down the table, a smaller box has a planting of Speedy and Apollo arugula. They are big enough to start cutting on now, though I still have a few plants in one of the cold frame beds I have been harvesting from for some time now.

salad box with arugula

salad box with arugula

Next to that I have a small box that was planted with lettuce several weeks ago. It’s a mixture of the same varieties I planted in the big box. Those plants are almost ready to begin cutting. We’ve been without homegrown lettuce for a few months now and I am looking forward to a nice salad sometime in the near future.

small salad box with lettuce

small salad box with lettuce

Over on the potting bench I have one more small salad box that I planted with Mizspoona Salad Select. Despite the name this mizuna/tatsoi cross is good cooked as well as in salads. I also have some of this fast-growing green growing in one of the beds.

salad box with Mizspoona planted

salad box with Mizspoona planted

I have two beds in the greenhouse, one about 3×4 feet and the other 3×5 feet in size. Next to the parsley in the bigger bed I have a test planting of Brassica carinata. I have two varieties I am growing to see how they do in the winter greenhouse. One from Artisan Seeds is called Highland Kale, and the other from Johnny’s is called Amara Mustard. B. carinata is really closer botanically to a mustard, but the taste is reminiscent of Tuscan kale. Fred Hempel from Artisan Seeds wrote a piece for Mother Earth News called Highland Kale Is a Versatile Mustard Green from Ethiopia that describes this green and how it can be used. You can see some of the young plants in the below photo.

young Highland Kale plants

young Highland Kale plants

The rest of that bed is planted out in lettuce, mizspoona and spinach. The bed on the other side has cilantro at one end and kale on the other, with Simpson Elite and Red Sails lettuce planted in the middle.

bed with cilantro, lettuce and kale

bed with cilantro, lettuce and kale

Simpson Elite lettuce is one of my favorites for making a wilted lettuce salad. The greenhouse plants are growing nicely, but everything grows more slowly in the short, cold days of winter.

Simpson Elite lettuce

Simpson Elite lettuce

The kale is a mix of two cultivars from Adaptive Seeds, one called True Siberian and a Red Russian type named Western Front that is supposed to keep growing through the winter months. I haven’t cut any of these plants since I have so much planted out in the main garden. When that kale freezes out I will hopefully have this in the greenhouse to eat.

True Siberian kale

True Siberian kale

I hope you have enjoyed this tour of the greenhouse, and thanks for stopping by. I’ll be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres!

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7 Responses to December Greenhouse Tour

  1. Margaret says:

    Everything in your greenhouse is looking great. Homegrown lettuce is certainly missed when it runs out. That was actually quite a surprise when I started to garden again -it’s such a humble vegetable.

    I purchased Radichetta seeds this year but it ended up being so bitter that I couldn’t eat it. Then when I looked back at your photos of it, I realized that my variety looked completely different from yours – it’s leaves more closely resembled dandelion leaves than lettuce leaves. I haven’t looked into it but it looks like there is a completely different green that goes by that name as well. Next time, I’ll have to make sure I purchase the “right” one!
    Margaret recently posted…Garden Bloggers Fling – Day 1 (Evening)My Profile

    • Dave says:

      I have seen photos of Radichetta that don’t really look like lettuce. I have used seeds from Fedco and from Seeds From Italy and both do well here. It sort of reminds me of an upright oakleaf lettuce.

  2. Nancy Davis says:

    Wonderful things growing in your greenhouse! Lucky you. Usually I try to keep some lettuce and spinach going in my cold frame but nothing this year. Wanted to fill the bed back up again with soil. After Christmas will have to get out my grow lights and get a few things started. Nancy
    Nancy Davis recently posted…Lunch, Quilt, Bed & DogsMy Profile

  3. David Velten says:

    Nice to have a greenhouse to extend the season. Alas, I don’t have one but I am thinking of putting some lettuce flats under the grow lights, which are just sitting there right now, unused.
    David Velten recently posted…Tomato Review 2015My Profile

  4. Your salad leaves are doing much better than ours in spite if it being warmer here,
    Susan Garrett recently posted…If something sounds too good to be true – it probably means that it is,My Profile

  5. Michelle says:

    I’m looking forward to hearing what you think about the Brassica carinata. I have seeds for the Highland Kale but keep putting off sowing them. My plan now is to get them going for an early spring crop so I’m waiting until after the solstice to sow them. What kind of temperature difference do you get in the greenhouse? 20°F is darned cold…
    Michelle recently posted…2015 Pepper ReviewMy Profile

    • Dave says:

      I can raise the nighttime temps in the greenhouse about 8-10°F if I run the heater, which I have been doing on the colder nights. In the daytime it gets toasty in there when the sun comes out.

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