Over-wintered carrots

For those here locally, if you had the chance to come out to one of my fall classes last year you’d be harvesting these right now! I’ve got about 150 of them back there ready to pull, and I was able to use many during the winter months.

The name of this variety is Negovia. They are delicious! I’ve normally grown Mokum and Napoli for winter storage but came across this variety with a special that Johnny’s was running last year. This may be my new go-to winter carrot. Chop off the tops and shoulders, cut off the bottom roots and dip in salad dressing! I gave some of these to a neighbor and who wanted to know what variety it was. She apparently put some in her daughters lunch the next day and when the daughter came home from school, she said: “mom, where did you get those carrots? They tasted better than any others carrot you’ve ever given me.”

While your here, check out a few classes I have coming up in the area. One on composting and one on growing your own microgreens at home. And also, check out my newest ebook! It might seem like a long way off, but you’ll want to be buying your lettuce seeds right now for the summer season before all the right varieties are gone for the year. Don’t let the summer pass you buy-learn how to grow the best tasting lettuces right though the warmest months of the year

Did you enjoy this post?
Share the Love
free square foot gardening seasonal newsletter

Early spring planted crops

Many folks are always asking the question: when do I start planting and what? That will depend on your zone. I’m  6B in northern Utah where winters can be harsh; complete with lots of snow, fierce winds, and low temperatures. Its not as bad as some locations to grow but it surely has its challenges.

After doing this for over 30 years you get a feel for things. Some of my first plantings have already been direct seeded into the garden. Others have been started indoors and will go into the “sun box” in another 2-3 weeks.  See previous posts that discuss the sun box. This picture is tatsoi-a great and frost hardy Asian green that’s delicious as a salad mix-in. The other is black seeded simpson elite. There’s some reason why elite is supposed to be better than regular black seeded simpson, I just haven’t been able to figure out what the difference is.

For those who need a little extra guidance, try this garden planner by Burpee. You can even download an app on your device to give you reminders of when to do things. I’ve found it pretty handy, especially when I just get too busy and forget to plant something.

For you northern Utah folks interested in learning how to make compost, see my class coming up, as well as one on growing microgreens at home. Today is the last day for you to order 1 pack of seeds from Burpee and get another one free. I ordered a pack of San Marzano tomatoes and a pack of Fortex pole beans. Spring is here for me.

Did you enjoy this post?
Share the Love
free square foot gardening seasonal newsletter

How does your cold frame grow?

 

Here’s something fun to see. First picture(top)is October 15, 2016, second is 1/1/17, last one is 2/21/17. A simple sun box, not a cold frame, can do this for you as well. Nothing wrong with the cold frame, its just more work, more expensive, and fairly permanent. I’ve taken off the top sun box level for the last picture so you can see whats happened over the winter. Now I’ll begin to harvest whats in it. Good eating tonight!

I encourage everyone to grow their own food, even those in harsher climates that experience snow, below zero temperatures, wind chill, etc. It’s a rewarding feeling to come out after a hard winter, pull back the top and see whats underneath. I just began watering this box last week-thats 3 full months of no work! those wanting to see how easy a sun box is to assemble(and take apart), see my earlier post. So easy, and all made with wood material thats laying around the house.
Crops in this box are spinach, chard,and the lettuces of sweet repeat, allstar, and black seeded simpson.

One of the keys to growing is the soil. As I’ve said before, if the soil isn’t right, nothing else will really matter. If you live in the area and are interested in learning how to have really rich, fertile soil, I’ll be teaching class this upcoming Saturday. Composting is the answer. Once you learn the proper way to do it, you’ll ask yourself why you haven’t been doing it all along

Did you enjoy this post?
Share the Love
free square foot gardening seasonal newsletter

Growing microgreens

Winter can feel long, dark, and lonely.  Thats especially true if you’re a gardener, used to seeing plush green colors throughout the year.  Many folks put their gardening chores away right around the Labor Day weekend, or shortly thereafter.  Then they might start back up again in mid-March or the first part of April.  Thats 6 months!  A long time to not see green.

I like to grow microgreens all year, but I particularly enjoy it during the winter months when it seems like everything is cloudy and just brown.  I love growing them not for just the nutritional value and taste, but also because it gives me something to put on the counter during December and January thats alive and green.  They are so easy to do.  Its a great hobby and you get the reward of eating something delicious.  They require nothing elaborate, in fact, they are grown and harvested as you see in the picture-on a windowsill.  A little snip of this on top of a salad, on a baked potato, or even added to scrambled eggs will light your taste buds on fire.  Another great thing about them?  They generally only take about 8-10 days.  If you’ve never tried them you should.

In the meantime, did you see my newest ebook?  It surely hasn’t set the world on fire, probably because there’s not many places that are experiencing warm weather in January and February, so why bother?  There are plenty of us around who love lettuce all year but growing it in the gardens during summer is really hard if you live in a place where temperatures get to be 80-85 plus degrees.  If thats the case, this short ebook is for you.  Warm weather gardeners know the challenges of trying to keep lettuce going through summer.  This ebook teaches the 5 techniques that I’ve used to be able to harvest lettuce in our very warm summers.  I hope you enjoy it. &nbsp

Did you enjoy this post?
Share the Love
free square foot gardening seasonal newsletter

My very small cold frame winter garden

This is supposed to be a cold frame but it really isn’t.  I learned this idea from Mel Bartholomew many years ago, and he writes about it in his first book, which is a condensed version of what he wrote earlier in the publication of The Avant Gardener in 1978.  The article is long out of print so you wont be able to find it easily.  This is called a sun box.  A google search for sun box will give you nothing close to what this is.

What’s the difference between a cold frame and a sun box?  A cold frame is something that is usually fairly permanent, and usually fairly good sized.  It’s usually dig into the ground and placed at a low angle on the southern side of a yard to get as much of the sun as possible, especially in the winter months.  The back of traditional cold frames are much higher than the front and they can be pretty heavy and bulky.  It’s covered with a variety of things ranging from expensive, self venting tops to cheap things such as wood with plastic stapled to it to act as a protective covering over the top.  Cold frames can be very expensive or pretty cheap.

A sun box is different.  It is not dug into the ground.  It is not permanent.  The back is the same height as the front.  In fact, its nothing more than portable wood boxes that have been placed on top of each other.  Thats it.  They can be moved around, taken apart, added upon, etc. in about a minutes time.  They are great for last spring and summer.  When you tomatoes(or anything else) need to be hardened off and they begin to outgrow your cold frame, you’re almost forced to plant them in the garden.  All you need to do with a sun box is add another portably wood box on top of what you already have.  Then all I did was buy a $5 glass window at the Re-Store to place on top for protection.  We’ve had a tough winter so far with more coming.  As you can see, the salad greens have done amazingly well.  And I just had a small salad-it was wonderful.

Did you enjoy this post?
Share the Love
free square foot gardening seasonal newsletter