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Four Season Gardening at Chiot’s Run

November 15th, 2010

In late September I planted 2 raised beds with a mix of different kinds of winter crops. I covered them with greenhouse plastic to protect them from the weather when it started to turn cold, about 2 weeks ago. This seems to be working very nicely, we’ve had night time temperatures in the high 20’s and the day time temperatures range from the 40’s to the 60’s.

Since this past week was so warm (in the 60’s during the afternoons), I decided to pull the covers back and give all the greens a good watering with some Neptune’s Harvest. This should get them through the winter, I don’t know if I’ll have to worry about watering again after this.

It looks like these mini greenhouses are providing the right climate for my spinach, it’s growing quite prolifically. I can’t wait to have spinach salads all winter long from this bed. I’m also experimenting with a variety of cold hardy lettuces, celery, arugula, leeks, carrots, kohlrabi, bunching onions, and some other cold-tolerant greens.

At the moment I have 2 raised beds with greenhouse tunnels, one with floating row cover, and one with a cold frame. The one with the cold frame is going to be seeded this week with a variety of winter greens for experimentation to see which ones sprout and do best when started late in the season. From here on out it looks like our highs are only going to be in the 40’s, so it looks like winter is creeping up on us here at Chiot’s Run.

I’m hoping that after a few years I’ll have a good list of which varieties of greens overwinter well in my climate. Eventually, I’m hoping to be able to grow a lot more of my vegetables year round instead of relying on someone else’s produce during the winter. (If you want to learn more about four season gardening I’d highly recommend Eliot Coleman’s book The Winter Harvest Handbook: Year Round Vegetable Production Using Deep Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses)

How’s your winter gardening going?

16 Comments to “Four Season Gardening at Chiot’s Run”
  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mark mile, Susy Morris. Susy Morris said: Four Season Gardening at Chiot’s Run #wintergardening #coldweathercrops #greenhouses […]

    Reply to Tweets that mention Four Season Gardening at Chiot’s Run | Chiot’s Run —'s comment

  2. MAYBELLINE on November 15, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Aren’t some seeds sensitive to light more than others?
    Will you have enough sunshine to germinate at this time of year where you are?

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

    • Susy on November 15, 2010 at 3:06 pm

      I seem to do OK with germination this time of year, I think since there still is some sun it works OK. Of course things like lettuce that don’t need light germinate even better than they do in the summer since they like cool soil temperatures.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. LB on November 15, 2010 at 10:47 am

    I’m jealous of your hoop houses! I might steal this idea next winter!

    Reply to LB's comment

  4. risa b on November 15, 2010 at 11:30 am

    We are in the Willamette Valley and have still had only one frost, a very light one — have gigantic kale, collards, beet greens, and chard, and next year’s elephant garlic is already tall enough to give up some greens. Most years, all these will last all the way through without covering. We might cover the herb bed to extend its usefulness, though.

    Reply to risa b's comment

  5. Kelly (The Sorry Gardener) on November 15, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Thanks for the book tip. I’m trying a hoop cover on one of my beds this year, but I didn’t start the seeds until October so they’re probably not going to be winter-edible. I definitely miss my veggie beds more than my flowers. I think I should’ve been a farmer.

    Reply to Kelly (The Sorry Gardener)'s comment

  6. Vegetable Garden Cook on November 15, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    They look great!

    Reply to Vegetable Garden Cook's comment

  7. RVSTONE on November 15, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    Your beds look great! I wish my winter spinach looked that good, we had too much heat in September! Our 3 cold frames are full of chard, lettuce, mache, carrots spinach and pac choy. We also have 2 hoop houses that are full of Kale and some broccoli we are hoping to over winter. I don’t know if it will work but I figured it would be worth the time if we get an early spring crop!!

    Reply to RVSTONE's comment

  8. Sande on November 15, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    I’ve been very curious about winter gardening in the midwest so I’ll be watching your posts with interest. Why do the things in the hoop houses not need watered in the winter?

    Reply to Sande's comment

    • Susy on November 15, 2010 at 8:57 pm

      I don’t know if they’ll need watered or not, we’ll see. 2 years ago I didn’t water my overwintering spinach. I think that because it’s cooler and covered they as much water doesn’t evaporate.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. Debbie on November 16, 2010 at 10:16 am

    I currently have spinach, red and green leaf lettuce, swiss chard and green onions still growing in the garden. I haven’t graduated to the hoop houses yet but the weather has been unseasonably warm here in Southern Ontario so I am still getting salad greens. So cool if you ask me. This is the first time I tried a late harvest and I’m loving it.

    I may add hoop houses to my garden experiments next year. New raised beds are going in (crossing fingers), so it would be a good time to add the gismos for the hoops at the same time. I love my veggy gardens.

    Reply to Debbie's comment

  10. Cheryl Rector on November 16, 2010 at 11:31 am

    I too, love your hoop houses. Is there any information anywhere on how to build those? Is that info in the book you mentioned? We are in Eastern WA state, where we get lots of snow and sometimes temps down to 10 degrees.

    Reply to Cheryl Rector's comment

  11. Jacqui on November 16, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    I’m in line with everyone else envying your hoop houses! Do you know of any good sources for information on fall/winter gardening in the PNW? I live in Vancouver, BC and we have extremely mild winters, but get so much rain and so little sun that the spinach I planted is drowning and the cabbage, broccoli and beets are still quite small given that I planted them in early August. This is my first try at it, so I’m not sure if I’m doing something wrong or if I just need to be more patient :).

    Reply to Jacqui's comment

  12. Sustainable Eats on November 17, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Jacqui, google “Modern Victory Garden”. Laura is in the PNW (as am I but she’s a better gardener with more info on her site.)

    Susy, your spinach looks great. you are always so organized and on top of things. Beautiful job on your winter garden this year! What kind of clamps are those you are using to attach your plastic with? They don’t stick out like the white plastic ones do.

    I don’t have my plastic up yet but will by tomorrow since we are supposed to get a mix of rain and snow with below freezing temps by Sat. Yikes! Hello, winter…

    Reply to Sustainable Eats's comment

    • Jacqui on November 18, 2010 at 4:10 pm

      Wow! This is great information – thank you so much!

      Reply to Jacqui's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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