Last year I read several books (Four Season Harvest and Year-Round Gardening) about winter gardening. These are two gardeners/farmers that grow in Maine and Nova Scotia, and it was very inspiring and empowering. I think that is the key word that comes to mind about gardening and growing your own food, about preserving it, about growing at a time nobody thinks you can grow. EMPOWERING. As far as a winter garden, I was able to succeed! And, of course fail – that is the way with everything. I don’t take it personally!
This year, I had a lot of raised beds I had added to the garden space to prepare for winter. You can in the picture above the rows I covered. Notice where the sun is – this is due to the front of my house facing due south, which means as fall progresses to winter, my house shades the backyard. The rows covered are the only beds that get sun, and that at times is not a lot. It is enough to grow food, though, as you will see in the video below!
The technique I used for the hoop house was to cut 3/4 inch thin walled PVC pipe into 1 foot sections, and then secured them at 3-4 foot intervals into the raised bed wood with deck screws and hanger tape. Then I used 1/2 inch thick PVC pipe to create the hoop. It is very easy!
The white covering is Agribon-19 fabric and is available at Johnny’s Seeds. It provides frost protection down to 28 degrees F. Johnny’s also sells special clamps to secure the fabric to the pipes. When I uncover the beds, I only do it halfway, and fold the fabric over to the back and secure with the clamps. So, below is a picture of that clamp, that I don’t bother to clamp all the way. I like to uncover the beds if the weather will be warmer (45-60’s degrees). The fabric does block the sun some, and provides 85% light transmission, so if I can keep the beds uncovered, I do.
To keep the fabric secured to the bed, I decided to use 8 foot 2×4 wood hold the fabric in place. To the wood secured, I screwed some metal plates in place. I placed screws in the 2×4’s and wrapped twine around the ends to keep the fabric in place.
Below is a quick tour I took of the garden. I was disappointed this fall in how late I got things in, so we did not have much fall vegetables. But, as you will see, there is a lot out there to eat off of now, as well as things that will come in late winter/early fall. The vegetables, according to what I have read and experienced last winter, will slow their growth as the sunlight decreases. They won’t die, but will just slow and stop growing. Then as the sunlight starts to increase as it does going into spring, the vegetables start to grow again.
Also, I have already been planning for 2017, mapped out the basics of spring and summer, and ordered half of my seeds. I am adding 15 more raspberry plants: 5 Polana (early red), 5 Jewel (black raspberry) and 5 Anne (yellow raspberry) to add to my other 15 raspberry plants. I am also adding 25 asparagus crowns, which we are very excited about. We love asparagus.
2017 will be more focused on less variety and more of the vegetables we can preserve. Lots of tomatoes, peppers, peas, southern peas. Same amount of potatoes and sweet potatoes. All squash will be grown under Agribon-15 insect barrier! Less snap beans and more dry beans, all bush variety. Onions will be scallions, leeks and shallots. My regular onions just don’t get large enough for me to justify the space. I can’t grow a beet to save my life, and I am not sure why. Celery will still be in the garden, and will be every year. It grows slow but the “straight from the garden flavor” is unmatched.
Well, that is all for now – thanks for stopping by!