So my greens made it through the worst of winter (I hope) and have really started to kick in growing. They went on hold (stopped growing) from around Thanksgiving to mid-January when we had less than 10 hours of daylight. But since then the daylight hours keep increasing daily which is a signal for the plants to grow again in earnest. In case you are wondering when I planted all this, I planted the carrots, arugula and spinach last September inside the greenhouse, and the red and green lettuces I started from seed under grow lights inside my house on January 2nd and then were put out in the greenhouse in early February.
To keep the greens from freezing in the dead of winter in the greenhouse which is unheated, I’ve cover them with one layer of winter weight row cover every night and on some really cold nights (when temperatures got down to 14-17° F), I put two rows of row cover over them. One night the lettuce actually froze. But I read in Elliot Coleman’s Winter Harvest Handbook that if you don’t harvest it when it’s frozen, it may be fine by the afternoon when it warms up and sure enuf, it thawed out and is still growing great. You just can’t harvest it when it’s in a frozen state.
In the greenhouse are some carrots which aren’t very big yet (about the size of a pencil in circumference) some green and red lettuces, arugula and spinach, all of which will be harvested before the Green House (a play on the word greenhouse since my greenhouse was painted green) gets too hot. In fact when the day temperatures reach the 50’s, I put fans on to blow the heat out of the greenhouse.
You see, I don’t worry about it being too cold but worry about it getting too HOT which will cause the lettuces and spinach to bolt (make flowers) which will cause it all to go bitter and then it is only good for our chickens who don’t seem to mind the bitterness at all. In fact I think they pray for the heat!
Looks like some of the lettuce and spinach are now big enough to pick the outer leaves while leaving the inner leaves to continue to grow. And a big bonus for me is to see so much green now already at the start of March! I love going into the greenhouse right now. Refreshing when the outdoor plants are still sleeping…
If you give inedible greens to the hens, and then eat the hens, would that be recycling or repurposing?
I meant the eggs that the hens produce of course.
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Hi Tony-the greens are only inedible to us.The chickens love them either way! We don’t eat our hens!
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Hi there, Would you be willing to meet with members of the Santa Fe Garden Club on March 15? We have been given some tomato seeds by the Seed Savers Exchange to test in our climate, and we would love to have a veggie gardening expert to talk with us and watch as we plant the seeds. Let me know, please. Thanks! Jackie McFeely 505-982-6436 Jackie_jauregui91105@yahoo.com
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Hello, it was neat to see your illustration an Denote it’s similarity to myj greenhouse now. I note you made many recommendations for seed and a whole lot of them came from Agua Fria nursery, which I buy from, when in Santa Fe.
My question would be what would be the ideal time to go to that store, in hopes of getting all the items you suggest, both seeds and starts?
You can go to the nursery in March (read now) and early April to grow the COOL season crops (like the ones in this post) BEFORE it gets too hot inside a GH..If you wait till mid April, it could get too HOT and make them bolt…
Warm season crops can be bought and start to plant outside around May 15th which is the first frost FREE day of the growing season here. But when planting OUTSIDE, warm season crops like tomatoes, beans, peppers, eggplants, etc, are NOT very cold so always use row cover over the plants at night because we can still get a freeze and wipe you out. But uncover them on the warm days.
Hey! Very pleased that I came across this thread. I recently came across a brand new version of the plant hardiness zone map, and I believe it will be beneficial to you all.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!