Seeing Green, White and Ginger

Around this time of year I am anxious to see any signs of new life. I found some under the grow lights in the basement, where the seeds I started last week are sprouting and showing green. The arugula, lettuce, kale and mizspoona are all coming up, while the parsley is no doubt slowly thinking about sprouting. All these plants are destined for either the greenhouse or cold frame beds, where they will be protected from the harsh winter weather.

seeds coming up under grow lights

seeds coming up under grow lights

And speaking of winter, we got another small snow yesterday. It was just enough to cover the ground and make the roads slick. When it snows I often show a photo of the greenhouse. I mainly do that because I can stick the camera out the back door and not have to go out in the cold!

snow on the greenhouse and cold frames

snow on the greenhouse and cold frames

Will at Eight Gate Farm asked about how I pruned back my overwintered pepper plants. I’m fairly new to the process, and definitely still learning. I pruned back an Aji Golden plant last fall after I brought it in and plucked the peppers from it. It has responded with some new growth, though basically it’s still in a holding pattern. I keep the plants in the basement under fluorescent plant lights, and the cool temps (around 60°F) don’t encourage much growth in the peppers.

Aji Golden pepper plant

Aji Golden pepper plant

I was waiting on the Aji Panca plant to ripen its peppers, so I just recently pruned it back. I wound up cutting it further back since it didn’t have a lot of growth up higher on the plant. Hopefully it will respond with new growth in a few weeks. It is my third year overwintering peppers and I have to say they seem to be pretty resilient. They generally take right off growing once the temperatures warm up and they get out in the sunlight. Though I have to say the one in the below photo looks pretty sorry at the moment!

Aji Panca pepper plant

Aji Panca pepper plant

In other unrelated news, I made my first batch of ginger beer a couple of weeks ago and it was so tasty I wound up making more! For the last batch I experimented with adding more ginger root and less sugar. It was ready to strain and bottle in Grolsch type flip-top bottles after a couple of days of fermenting in a half gallon jar. While I am mostly following the instructions in The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz, you can also find a similar recipe online called Natural Ginger Ale.

homemade ginger beer

homemade ginger beer

I hope you have enjoyed this update, and I’ll be back soon with more happenings from HA!

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10 Responses to Seeing Green, White and Ginger

  1. Margaret says:

    All that green certainly is exciting! We had some snow yesterday as well, but only a couple of inches – wish it was more, though – the garden could use a nice insulating blanket as it’s going to get pretty cold in the days to come.
    Margaret recently posted…End of Season Review – CucumbersMy Profile

  2. Darlene says:

    Do you grow ginger? I have not tried yet…

  3. Will - Eight Gate Farm - NH says:

    Thanks for the update Dave. I tried overwintering a pepper once, and while it lived, it never really grew the next season. I did not prune it; maybe that’s why. Ginger beer looks yummy, although if I make it no doubt I’d yeast it up for a kick!

    • Dave says:

      This would likely get more of a kick if you just let it sit. And even after you refrigerate it, it continues to carbonate and get less sweet.

  4. Mark Willis says:

    I have several over-Wintered chilli plants, and they are looking good, probably on account of our exceptionally mild Winter this year. Several of them are showing plenty of new growth and I am looking forward to an early harvest this time. I think that severe pruning in the Autumn is definitely necessary.
    Mark Willis recently posted…Sowing Broad BeansMy Profile

  5. Susie says:

    Nice to see the greens! I should think about doing something similar and get some hardy greens into the greenhouse in early spring (hard to think about it now as we are in a rather vicious cold period).

    I love ginger beer! But other than homemade yogurt, I’m not much into the fermenting thing. At least not yet .. it certainly seems like a healthy way to “preserve” food.
    Susie recently posted…Seed Order: West Coast SeedsMy Profile

    • Dave says:

      If I had know how easy ginger beer is to make at home, I would have done it years ago! Much like sauerkraut. Fermenting stuff is addictive, in a good way.

  6. Hsin says:

    If you start cold-hardy greens in your basement, how do you make the transition to planting them in the soil in outdoors in your cold-frames? Does ‘hardening off’ still happen or? Thanks!

    • Dave says:

      Yes, I harden off by moving them to the greenhouse for a couple of days. Since they are going in the greenhouse or cold frame ultimately, they don’t need hardening off from the wind. But they do need to get used to sunlight. I did that last week, and now I have planted some of the greens in the greenhouse.

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