Winter Gardening

WildBird

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Sorry if this is in the wrong forum. If it is I absolutely wouldn't mind if a staff member or whoever does that kind of stuff moves it.

I recently read a book on winter gardening and am fascinated with this method (the book is "Backyard Winter Gardening" by Caleb Warnock)! I plan to start as soon as possible.

I am wondering if anybody else on TEG does winter gardening and if so do you have any tips for beginners?
 

flowerbug

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the ground is resting, so am i. :)

the great variance this year in weather would have done in most tender plants rather early. i don't have any desire to spend a lot of money for shelters or things that need more work to keep up. i'm a firm believer in keeping things simple and going by what the seasons are doing and saying to me - right now it says, hey dumb a$$, don't freeze. :)
 

digitS'

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I read some reviews of that book and there was a claim about people starving if they couldn't have done winter gardening, thousands of years ago. I'm still wondering about that.

Of course, there were people who weren't agriculturalists, thousands of years ago. There were also those who were but very far in the north during a time when there wasn't uv-resistant plastic or glass for protected growing. If using root storage and .... well, if that sort of thing counts, of course.

I read Eliot Coleman's book, 4 Season Harvest many years ago. It was partly an inspiration for using my 180 sqft greenhouse for winter growing. I could have Asian greens, transplanted from the outdoors, for December, Asian greens grown from seed in a greenhouse bed for February & March, I couldn't have anything in January.

Okay, I coulda saved some veggies for January but with only one bed down the middle of the greenhouse, there wasn't a lot of room for plants. The greenhouse heater was not turned on. It was well worth having the vegetables and wasn't all that much bother since I was here. I believe that was 3 winters. I've come up with excuses not to do the winter garden the most recent years.

How far north are you in Idaho, and how far up in elevation? With only about a degree from Canada and right at 2000 feet elevation, I usually don't have very much winter warmth or sunlight.

Welcome to TEG, WildBird. I'm glad you are here!

Steve
 

WildBird

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the ground is resting, so am i. :)

the great variance this year in weather would have done in most tender plants rather early. i don't have any desire to spend a lot of money for shelters or things that need more work to keep up. i'm a firm believer in keeping things simple and going by what the seasons are doing and saying to me - right now it says, hey dumb a$$, don't freeze. :)
That's smart, but I think I'll take the risk:fl

I read some reviews of that book and there was a claim about people starving if they couldn't have done winter gardening, thousands of years ago. I'm still wondering about that.

Of course, there were people who weren't agriculturalists, thousands of years ago. There were also those who were but very far in the north during a time when there wasn't uv-resistant plastic or glass for protected growing. If using root storage and .... well, if that sort of thing counts, of course.

I read Eliot Coleman's book, 4 Season Harvest many years ago. It was partly an inspiration for using my 180 sqft greenhouse for winter growing. I could have Asian greens, transplanted from the outdoors, for December, Asian greens grown from seed in a greenhouse bed for February & March, I couldn't have anything in January.

Okay, I coulda saved some veggies for January but with only one bed down the middle of the greenhouse, there wasn't a lot of room for plants. The greenhouse heater was not turned on. It was well worth having the vegetables and wasn't all that much bother since I was here. I believe that was 3 winters. I've come up with excuses not to do the winter garden the most recent years.

How far north are you in Idaho, and how far up in elevation? With only about a degree from Canada and right at 2000 feet elevation, I usually don't have very much winter warmth or sunlight.

Welcome to TEG, WildBird. I'm glad you are here!

Steve
Thanks for the welcome! I'm in western Idaho, I don't know what elevation. The winters here aren't too bad, and this year we haven't got more than an inch of snow and probably won't until next year. Very rainy winter. If it has to be cold, couldn't it at least be snowy too?;)

Now you've got me wondering about your first paragraph, maybe I'll find some time to research that!
 

flowerbug

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i would guess they migrated with the weather in many areas...

it's ok, to each their own, good luck!

it's heading down to 16F tonight here if the forecast is right. then tomorrow night back up to 40F and then back down again to the low 20s... i'm hoping we'll get some snow/insulation on the ground. all this frost heaving is going to play havoc on the plants.
 

digitS'

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How are you thinking of doing winter gardening, WildBird?

I saw 2 Robins, today. Quite a few more than that, a few days ago.

I don't know if they are returning or some that never left for southern climes.

Steve
 

WildBird

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How are you thinking of doing winter gardening, WildBird?

I saw 2 Robins, today. Quite a few more than that, a few days ago.

I don't know if they are returning or some that never left for southern climes.

Steve
Probably 'hot beds' and 'cold frames'. We'll see how it goes!

Some of the robins near my place stayed here year round. I guess we can trust the birds to tell us how hard or mild the winter is going to be.
 

digitS'

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Hot beds seem like an intriguing idea.

My composting has mostly been done in the ground. Moisture for the process will not be from the atmosphere here through the summer. I really learned how that would be a mistake seeing a neighbor put his compost material in a wire bin and elevate the bin on legs. He might have been thinking of preserving the material for antiquity. Lesson: if it's on the ground, it will decay; if it is exposed to this arid atmosphere, nothing much will happen for years.

Composting works better for me if it's semi-subterranean. Completely below ground is probably not best altho I regularly pull frost-killed plants, dig out beds and compost-in-place. However, this won't be a huge amount of material.

You see how a hot bed in the greenhouse might work for me, WildBird? Manure is what is commonly used, as I understand it. I no longer have access to an easy supply of manure, don't really want to load and then unload it in my backyard, and the usual compostables may not generate much heat. Still, I'm tempted to try beefing them up with some higher N fertilizer and see how well the Asian greens could do with that situation.

One thing that might be an improvement is if I could make use of the ground closest to the plastic film. It was just too cold when I ventured close to that wall with plants during an earlier winter.

Steve
 

WildBird

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Hot beds seem like an intriguing idea.

My composting has mostly been done in the ground. Moisture for the process will not be from the atmosphere here through the summer. I really learned how that would be a mistake seeing a neighbor put his compost material in a wire bin and elevate the bin on legs. He might have been thinking of preserving the material for antiquity. Lesson: if it's on the ground, it will decay; if it is exposed to this arid atmosphere, nothing much will happen for years.

Composting works better for me if it's semi-subterranean. Completely below ground is probably not best altho I regularly pull frost-killed plants, dig out beds and compost-in-place. However, this won't be a huge amount of material.

You see how a hot bed in the greenhouse might work for me, WildBird? Manure is what is commonly used, as I understand it. I no longer have access to an easy supply of manure, don't really want to load and then unload it in my backyard, and the usual compostables may not generate much heat. Still, I'm tempted to try beefing them up with some higher N fertilizer and see how well the Asian greens could do with that situation.

One thing that might be an improvement is if I could make use of the ground closest to the plastic film. It was just too cold when I ventured close to that wall with plants during an earlier winter.

Steve
Wow, interesting! I'll keep that stuff in mind!
 

ducks4you

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Yep.
1) Last Fall's Brussels Sprouts growing downstairs under lights.
2) 2 trays of lettuce growing downstairs under lights. Started in 2 take home containers on top of the fridge, where there is a free standing grow light, on tripods.
3) Spinach sprouting on top of the fridge in a clear take home salad container from Monical's Pizza.
4) 7 Geraniums, rescued form the flower bed last October, and growing upstairs in front of the north facing bedroom windows.
My biggest issue is not to drown my indoor vegetables in the basement. I keep a dehumidifier on 24/7/365, but it is below ground and always damp, unless it in the middle of a dry summer.
LOTS of composting happening here. 3 horses/3 stalls, pine shavings, pine pellet bedding and straw moved out daily to decompose. Some of it smothers weeds, some will be tilled under to amend soil, the rest will simply...decompose.
I have been trying to construct a coldframe/hotframe for 4 years now. I HAVE all of the fresh manure I need, just don't have the time set aside and can't decide on a building plan. I DO have the location, south side of my garage, full sun, and some protection from the wind.
 

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