Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Greens

The lettuce I planted in the cold frame last fall is doing well..now. This was the first winter we had the cold frame. It didn't do much over the winter, but the mache, kale, spinach and lettuce are finally ready to eat.

The Hubs snagged this beauty (Mantis Dual-Chamber compost spinner) for me off Craig's list last summer. It works like a dream! Loving the dual-chamber system that allows finishing off a batch of compost while starting another. It's been a bit of trial and error ~ including one batch of slime (too much grass not enough browns). A mixture of maple leaves, grass clippings, sawdust, chicken plops, kitchen scraps (including lots of coffee grounds, mashed egg shells, greens, banana peels, etc.) DOES make beautiful compost!!

Emptied out one barrel of the spinner and started another batch of lettuce with it in the cold frame.

The re-purposed windows for the cold frame are going to need a little bit of TLC this spring. The heat ( it hit 100 degrees in there last week when it was 16 degrees outside ) and humidity have caused the interior paint to peel off.

We've planted some lettuce, chard, spinach, and radishes under a hoop in the raised bed by the garden after adding the compost. Really want to look into producing a larger volume of greens throughout the winter. Just starting to read Eliot Coleman's winter harvest book and my wheels are spinning!

Is anyone out there having luck with cold weather crops under hoop beds?

10 comments:

Michelle said...

Loving your composter! I had an opportunity to get a FREE one but by the time my husband went to get it (grrrr) it was gone. I was quite bummed...

I didn't plant anything for the winter...I haven't ever tried winter gardening...yet! Gotta figure out what to do with The Girls first...they're eating anything they can get their beaks on.

The Hip Homemaker said...

I love Eliot's books. He has some really great ideas. i haven't tried any of the cold weather techniques yet, but I plan to try this winter.

My friends have an insulated cold frame that they have had some luck with in the winter.

jeanette sclar said...

backiYou already know my spinach story. I envy your composter....should start reading Craig's List! Your garden looks off to a great start!

Kelly said...

Thomas over at A Growing Tradition would knock your winter-green-craving-socks off. Check his set-up out! And your greens are sounding quite yummy I must say. We are rationing the few pea greens I have growing indoors right now. Between the kids, myself, and the rabbit they are quite the commodity, lol.

Laurie said...

No experience with hoop gardening, but have had a cold frame for many winters. As with all gardening, some years work better than others. Like you, this year we had to wait on all but the lettuce, which we did enjoy through the winter. Lovin' all the other greens the past few weeks.

Flyin' Bobbin said...

I love the composter too! Don't have a cold frame, but a small inexpensive greenhouse. Just warming enough to start lettuce. Have lots of seedlings under lamps indoors. Isn't spring great?

Nancy said...

love the greens in that first picture. green is my favorite color but especially, after a long and hard winter!

Chiot's Run said...

I'm growing little Gem lettuce too, although mine got attacked by aphids and it looking a little worse for the wear!

Glad you like your compost tumbler, I have a different brand and am not trilled with it - I am a fan of making compost the pile & forget it way.

Growing greens in winter does have a learning curve. One year I was eating salad in February, this yea I've been eating it much earlier than if I planted outside but it is so hard to gauge when things should be planted here in our weird weather.

6512 and growing said...

Hi - just found you thru Bee House hives. We've been gardening under hoops this spring and have had some great yields of spinach, lettuce and cilantro.

Some of the crops we planted last fall and they hung on all winter (covered) and started going big in February. Fresh salads nightly since sometime in mid-Feb.

Your photos are enchanting!

Enjoy Time Outdoors said...

Your composter looks great! The rollers look like it would make easy work of turning heavily loaded bins. It would be nice to have two chambers. Tumblers sure beat the conventional pile. We switched to one this year and we're making compost in weeks instead of seasons... Love your Blog! Steve.