Winter Garden

Although we dodged a big snow bullet with this latest storm, we are all more than ready for warmer weather. It will be interesting to see what impact the recent colder-than-normal temperatures have had on our gardens.

January 15, 2014

This fall I put row covers on my raised beds at home and at the community garden. I took pictures after the first bout of cold temps of my bed – #33. You can see a variety of plants still upright in this photo even after January temps in the single digits.

Jan '14 covered bed  Jan '14 bed

But underneath the row covers the broccoli and cauliflower were mush. However, there were greens and onions at the far end. Who would have guessed? I didn’t bother to take the mushy stuff to the compost – just left it in the bed for another day. I took a few greens, covered the bed back up and will wait for spring.

February 14, 2014

We had snow yesterday and in early February more single digit temperatures. We were dripping the faucets at night. I wondered if anything survived in my raised beds at home.

snow covered beds

Imagine my astonishment to find bright green mache – a salad green – snug under the row covers ready to go into a salad. In a week or so I’ll have the courage to see if anything else survived.

mache

The brown leaves to the left of the mache are the remains of artichoke plants I raised from seed last year. What was I thinking? Artichokes are bi-annual and grow in California!. These survived the summer but clearly didn’t make it through the winter. If we’d had mild temps they might have and I might have had an artichoke or two this summer. We gardeners are always pushing the edge.

This is a carrot!  Really!

When the really cold temperatures were predicted I dug most of my carrots. Last year they wintered over in the covered beds and I pulled as needed. I was astonished at the size of this one. It went into several batches of hearty winter soup. Yep, that’s my hand next to it.

carrot giganticus

I’ve never been able to raise carrots before. Too many rocks in my veggie garden on the Western Shore. And they do really taste better than the store bought ones. The photo below shows carrots I pulled from my community garden bed in March 2013. Mild temps last winter and no row cover on bed #33.

carrots 03-9-13

We still have some cold weather before we can get out into our gardens, but the seed catalogs are arriving and I saw two robins today. Crocuses are poking up and spring will be here before we can blink. Start thinking about what you want to plant in your community garden bed this year.