Posted by: A Part of the Solution | December 25, 2011

The Garden in Winter

Maybe it’s because I’m newer to market gardening. Maybe it’s because we have a nifty little micro-climate. Maybe it’s because the beginning of winter this year has been so much milder than our previous experiences. Our garden in winter has quite a bit of vegetable activity going on.

Just last week a visitor and I harvested our final crop of succession  onions. Though I found the tag end of a scallion and long red onion bed yesterday and brought them out of the ground in fairly good shape all around. No, I didn’t hand pull them. I snatched up a fork and went at my work in a civilized fashion.

The scallions were just by a serendipitous bed of Yellowstone Carrots. I recognized them by their, now flattened, distinctive tops. And are those carrots ever sweet after so much frost! The carrot bed is west of a batch of Touchstone Gold baby beets. Planted east of the lovely baby beets are three kinds of lettuce: Red Sails, Jericho (a Romaine), and Amish Speckled Bibb. I’ve been feeding enormous bowls of fresh greens to our sows in the barn, since they’re lactating and need every vitamin and scrap of fiber they can wrap their jaws around. I finished cutting the Jericho just two days ago. The weather’s been catching up to it. I’m working my way steadily through the Red Sails, which is beginning to look pretty rough. But the Speckled Bibb is trucking along, small and sturdy and ever-so flavorful.

South of the lettuces is a large bed of mixed Brassicas. We have cabbages forming in slow motion. We have collards, at a Lilliputian size and amazing flavor profile. We have broccoli in a state of nearly arrested development. But none of those plants has given up on living. And they’re all growing, albeit not quickly. near these are the remnants of our final planting of Detroit Red beets. Like the Touchstone, the beets are all less than an inch in diameter. But heavens they’re tasty!

In the garden by the house, we have several rows of leeks. They’re mostly Lincoln with some King Siegfried. We also have a double row of turnips. They’re great in soups and stews and mash nicely with an apple and some butter and salt. There are still shreds of spinach and rainbow chard in the garden as well. Periodically, I cull through those patches to put together a green alternative for the ladies in the barn (who are a little restless being confined–where confined is half the lower barn and the outdoor area on its west side–with their young).

The kale and the collards, planted closest to the drive, are still going strong. The kale, Rainbow Lacinato, was planted in late April. We’ve been harvesting from the plants for months (and months). Now the plants look like exotically colored Bonsai palm trees. The collards are less visually stunning, but at this time of year they’re so tasty no one cares. They too have been in service since the beginning of the 2011 growing season. I wonder how much farther our garden will continue to go?



  1. Awesome.

    Can’t remember last time I had ‘neeps & apples. Yum!

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