Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Urban Food Producing Winter Garden

We have recently been in Albuquerque, New Mexico
 visiting our friends Susie and her partner Ray.
 Susie has lived in this house for over twenty years
 transforming it into an urban energy efficient oasis 
while raising her two children.

Also see my post from February 10th on Passive Solar.

What I want to highlight today are the passive solar greenhouse
 and the winter garden bed directly in front of it.
 The planter in the foreground was built by Ray
 and has annual rye in it to be turned back into the soil any day now.

The greenhouse provides heat on cold sunny days
 and provides a space for flowering house plants.
 The sheltered south facing bed in front
 provides a warmer spot for winter gardening.

Susie planted seedlings of broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and collards
 from a local nursery in the beginning of October. 
She started harvesting in late November and the white row cover
 bunched up next to the house was spread over the plants
 to protect them during the cold of the winter.
 The low for this longer, colder El Nino winter 
was around 12 degrees. These photos are from March 6th.
Right next to the little solar light you can see the black drip line
 hooked up to city water for when the rain barrels are empty.

These pots include arugula and cilantro 
and were brought in on the coldest nights.

Inside the greenhouse provides a warm sunny spot to sit 
on a winter day and lots of color from the flowering house plants.

The greenhouse is generally not suitable for vegetables 
because of the high humidity and they want to stretch to the light.
See more from my February 10th post on Passive Solar.

Lastly, on this day Susie and Ray baked four sweet potatoes.
In future posts I will highlight Susie and Ray's
 cold frames, worm farm, and rain barrels.