Saturday, November 26, 2011

My Totally Awkward Attempt at "Winter Gardening"

It seems like this fall I have been neglecting the garden.  I don't know if it's because I've been spending more hours at work, or if it's because up until now, the temperatures have been great for this time of year, and I haven't had that sense of urgency to get the fall gardening tasks complete.

Just last weekend I finally managed to clean up the raised beds and put the pots away in the shed to protect them from frost. All month long, I have been collecting leaves as they fell from the trees, one bag at a time.  The bags are still waiting in a protected area to stay dry until I can get my lawn mower out and mulch them.  Hopefully I'm not too late in this task, as we had our first snowfall of the year last Wednesday and things are still white out there.  If the snow melts this weekend, I'll have to get out there and do this asap!

With the turn to somewhat colder weather, I quickly had to come up with a solution to protect my late fall/early winter (if i'm lucky) crops.  It 'aint pretty, but hopefully it will extend the season a little bit:

Since I was in a rush, I had to use what I could find on hand, and propped up some old glass cabinet doors with pieces of wood, and surrounded these by some left over row cloth and an old fabric shower curtain.  So far, it seems to be doing the trick.  I had a look in the (semi-)"cold frame" this morning and the plants look great!  Inside I have parsley, cilantro and soup celery:

... sucrine and brown golding lettuces (not sure on their cold-hardiness, just the seeds I had available).

I also have a couple of tatsoi plants, which didn't do well against a constant slug attack this fall and are not looking like they will be worth the effort:

I have a dinosaur kale plant in another bed, which I have covered with an Ikea hanging lampshade (for a little mid-century modern touch to the garden).  Alas, I planted it too late in the season, I think, to bring much of a harvest.  It does seem to be doing well.  Despite our below-zero temperatures, I found a slug munching on it's leaves this morning.  Are slugs becoming cold tolerant too?

Next winter I will hopefully be much more organized.  I have discovered that the area of my property that has the most sunlight in winter is my front balcony!  Once the leaves fall from the trees, it gets sunlight for most of the day.  Maybe I could set up a few portable cold frames there!

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