Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Taste of Spring

Could not have asked for a better Sunday, bright blue sky and a day time high of 5c (41f). Maybe not the warmest day but for February it is about as good as it gets. We were out and about taking pictures early morning, I then did a bit of winter gardening and even washed the truck outside with the hose. I was a little numb after wards...

I will touch on the photo's in my next post because today I am going to blog about what all my wonderful readers are here for, veggie gardening! Today I did an overall inspection of the garden and did a bit of watering. With are lack of snow this year, winters dryness has really done a number on some plants. Everything got a good drink especially the potted perennials I am trying to overwinter. Here goes some photos of the good and the bad in the winter garden:

The Cedar Poly Tunnel Crops:

This season extender has by far done the best this winter. Almost everything in it has survided the winter and are looking quite healthy. This year I will only be planting winter crops in this structure.

Napa Cabbage, looking really good but small. I am hopeful
they will do something before peas take their place mid April.

Mache, I underplanted these below the celery. They have
really put some good growth on lately and should provide
some salad greens soon.

Mizuna, I recently cut this to the ground and it has grown back.
An excellent winter crop that is quite mild tasting this time of year.

Sugarloaf Chicory, A bitter green that I have yet to try.
It was clearly started way to late but it is looking healthy.

Lastly the Red Celery. It has pretty much bit the dust
with all the cold snaps we have had. It did however last
well into Janurary so it was a great crop.

The Cold Frame Crops:

This season extender has not fared so well. With only an inch or two of snow cover the winter winds have been getting in and doing a lot of damage. In the future I will use the cold frame for fall crops and hardening of spring crops. It seems to work best in these situations.

Spinach, Freeze dried but it may make a recovery. I gave it some
water today so with the warmer temps and brighter sun it may just
produce a harvest in 30 days.

Mache, it has not fared as well in the cold frame. The
whole lot has been knocked down by the cold. I am not
holding out much hope for this crop.

The Cheapo Polytunnel Crops:

This season extender has fared quite well this winter. I used it to overwinter leeks, chard, potted perennials and the wee tatsoi. I will use it again next year but I am not sure what will be in it yet.

Leeks, They are hanging in there. Peppers will take their place
so they have until early June to do something.

The wee tatsoi has been putting on growth albeit very slowly.
The left photo was taken in November and the one on the right
was taken today. I suspect it will likely grow out of the wee stage
in the warmer days to come.

Chard, as you can see it looks pretty dead. I am not sure if it
will come back from the root this spring? Either way more will
be started soon.

I will end things off with a photo of some lady bugs that seemed to be all over the garden today. I think I must have seen at least 15 in a half hypothemic state. They need to crawl back under cover because a snow storm is coming Monday afternoon, possible our first big accumulation for this winter.


  1. Glad you had some great weather was near 50F here and 80F in the greenhouse (non heated).Looks like you had some great success with the winter crops and ladybugs....hypothermic or not....are always a good sign :)

  2. i'm loving the first photo. what a gorgeous bird!

  3. It's a real challenge to get winter veg and salad. Congratulations - you've got some lovely looking stuff - that mizuna looks brilliant.

  4. The poly tunnel really performed for you (as did the cheapo poly tunnel). It's amazing how dried out it gets under the covers even when it is not warm outside.

    I think your swiss chard is quite done in. My experience has been that when the plant looks like that - the roots are actually quite soft from freeze damage and have rot.

  5. Winter gardening can be such a mixed bag. What has succeeded for you sure looks good though! I can't wait to try the mizuna next winter!

  6. Your poly tunnel crops do look pretty good. I just have two kale plants and right now they look pretty sad. I'm wondering if they will even live through the winter. We have had a lot of freeze/thaw cycles. The ground has been frozen the whole time, but we had a 50 degree day on Sunday so it was very warm.

  7. Thanks for posting photos of your polytunnel crops. I have some too, and it was nice to see what someone else is growing (I have chard, spinach, kale, turnips, radishes, lettuce, mache, and beets). I also have celery out in the open which is pouting quite a bit. :)

  8. The tatsoi might be slow to grow but it's looking very nice ! And the leeks are real troopers. I'd say your winter garden did really well, Dan.

    This year will be my first attempt at winter gardening. I'm not getting my hopes too high though, being 2 zones down. ;)

  9. Here you are happy with 40-degrees while I am not happy with my 40-degrees today after a Sunday of 70 degrees. Burrrr, I bet your hands WERE numb after hand washing. Be careful or you will get front bite and you need those fingers for sowing seeds. The good, the bad and the ugly, we have it all right now...

  10. I've heard great things about mâche...would you recommend growing it?

  11. Parsec - I would definitely recommend mache. Quite easy to grow and lives all winter.