Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Winter Garden #2

Back in early March I did a post on our friend Susie's garden in
The Urban Food Producing Winter Garden in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
 Now is time to look at that again here at the very end of a cold November.

But we really start back in late July when Susie planted
 a cover crop of buckwheat to act as a green manure. 
The above photo was taken on August 4th.

In less than two short but warm weeks it had grown this tall,
 ready to dig into the soil and provide the nutrients for the winter crop.

After digging in it is best to wait at least a couple of weeks
 for the cover crop to age and turn brown as it takes up nitrogen.
After that it will release nitrogen back into the soil as a green manure.

The bed was planted on September 11th 
with seeds for lettuce, spinach, and chard.
At the same time she set seedling plants
 of broccoli, collards and romaine lettuce.

Now here we are in late November with temps in the mid teens 
and she is uncovering the protective floating row cover
 to give the plants some fresh air and sun on a sunny afternoon.

She has been harvesting from this bed since early October 
and will continue to do so till April and May.

A close up shows the soaker hoses that can be used while the row cover 
is over the plants making it possible to water without uncovering the plants.

This container of chard was planted way back on April 11th 
and the above photo was taken on  May 29th.
 The chard was picked through the summer.

And now she is still harvesting the leaves 
and hopes to do so through the winter.

The above container of arugula was planted in mid September 
and the leaves are continuing to be harvested for salads.

As the sun goes lower everything is covered up again
 for the cold nights, down below 20 degrees (F).

Susie likes to fold the row cover over a couple of times 
so 3 or 4 layers will give added protection.

Last but not least are these containers by the front door. 
The purple pansy flowers were a colorful addition to the Thanksgiving salad 
and the pot in the lower left  is cilantro for next year.
Barely visible on the right is parsley.

Now be sure to eat your vegetables.