Archive for December 1st, 2008

What’s left in the garden?

December 1, 2008

I may get to some pictures in a few days … or maybe not. Perhaps my written descriptions will suffice.

I still have a few things hanging around that are a real garden stretch. I have about a 4′ row of Rosso leaf lettuce. I have about 20 spinach plants which are quite harvestable but I may just thin them and try to get them to spring … I’ll watch the weather and if it looks like it will get brutally cold, I’ll harvest them. I have a couple of rows of arugula … mostly gone to stem now but capable of giving flavor to a salad. I have about 4-5 escarole plants … I’ll watch the weather on these too. All of these are doing well under several layers of floating row cover and, while it was down to 20F, under 4-5 inches of snow. The snow is gone now but there is always more where that came from.

One of the houses near us is vacant and for sale. The landscaper who is tending it left a really nice pile of leaf and lawn clippings near the curb. I took my gardenway cart over and got several loads … it was already composting. Since it was shredded, it makes great mulch for keeping things from freezing. So …

I mulched a 4′ by 4′ bed of leeks about 8″ deep. They will keep very well there throughout the winter. I did the same with a 4′ by 4′ bed of fennel. I have some great fennel bulbs in there. In both of these, the very tops will freeze but I don’t use those tops anyhow. I have a 4′ by 4′ bed of storage carrots that I piled a bunch of mulch on just to keep the ground from freezing. And, I have a small planting of parsnips (should have been bigger but the seed was old) and I mulched them like the carrots.


From bottom to top you can see the fennel bed mulched, the parsnips mulched, some arugula unprotected and then the spinach and L. Rosso covered with row cover.

I still have a LOT of kale and collards. We will let them fend for themselves unless it threatens to go below 10F in which case we will re-evaluate our position on letting them fend. And, we still have a couple of great winter-hardy savoy cabbages (Territorial’s Tundra ) that we will harvest relatively soon.

All in all, we are fairly well set for the winter. By the way … in case you are new to storing crops in the garden, ALWAYS wait until it is nearly too late to mulch vegetables for storage in the garden. The longer you wait the less likely you are to have problems with rodents that have yet to settle in for the winter. If you want to make storage even better, cover the mulched beds with plastic to keep the mulch dry and thereby more insulating. This is only essential if you have no snow cover or if the temps get REALLY low.