Outside snow is on the ground and temperatures are falling below 0, but that doesn’t stop our greens from growing (or at least hanging on for life!) in our hoop houses. Despite the climate here in zone 4, it is still very much possible to keep some vegetables alive throughout the winter season! Crop and variety selections are key for this to work as only the hardiest of plants will be tough enough to handle the endeavor. Currently, in our hoop houses, we have spinach, kale, lettuce, scallions, parsley, carrots, turnips, and cilantro, most of which were planted in September or early October. Along with the protection of the plastic from the hoop house, we also have laid Reemay row cover over the beds for an extra layer to keep out the cold.

Vegetables in these conditions will hardly grow at all both because of the cold but also the lack of sunlight from our 9-hour (and often cloudy) days. Instead, most of the growth on these plants happened in the late fall and will pick up again in the spring. Harvested overwintering plants will likely not grow back unlike greens grown in the summer. What they are great at is offer a refreshing taste of fresh greens in the coldest and darkest of months. Adam is to thank for doing the work to make this possible.

This is also the time of year when we truly appreciate our fall storage crops that are tucked away in our root cellar. Potatoes, carrots, beets, onions and a variety of winter squashes and pumpkins can hold until spring when stored just above freezing. All these ingredients are perfect to make some soup to ward off the cold. The next exciting happening on the farm will be sheep shearing! We will see the ewes shrink to half their size in 5 minutes. Stay tuned!

 

  

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