by A.J. Coltrane
Little did I know…
In mid-December the winter vegetables were about as big as they were going to get. On March 11 I decided to start harvesting. The March 11 link shows the one harvest of mache before it bolted. The pak choi bolted too. I was surprised that they bolted that fast. I figured we had about a month to enjoy fresh greens. Nope. Just a touch of warmth and *BOOM*! So much for thinking that waiting would allow them more time to grow.
“Oh, Mr. Troll, you don’t want to eat me. I am just a middle-sized billy goat. Wait for my brother, who is much bigger than I am. Then, you would have more to eat.”
The spinach hasn’t bolted yet, though the forecast calls for 70 degrees this weekend. I’m guessing that the spinach, beets, carrots, and parsley need to be harvested before then. There are also a few dozen little green onions, and some tiny leeks — those should be ok for a while.
The slugs had a wonderful winter. I tried Sluggo but it didn’t seem to do much. The whiskey barrels in particular were ravaged by the slugs. The mache and pak choi were mostly ignored, but the spinach wasn’t so lucky.
So, the Winter #1 Summary:
1. Everything was planted too late. It needs to happen in mid-August at the latest.
2. Putting the boxes underneath the back deck facing to the NorthEast means that they won’t get enough sun. Under the deck is a cold microclimate too. Lose-lose.
3. Near the front door gets marginal sun, but it’s still much better than under the back deck. Containers near the front door are much more easily accessible.
4. I’m not sure how much the row covers helped. I do know that they made me less inclined to track progress and harvest things. Right now I’m thinking I’m stuck with them, short of getting a full greenhouse.
Basically, Winter #1 was a complete washout. On the bright side, I tried so many different things and screwed it up so many different ways — it’s got to get better and easier going forward.
Winter gardening is certainly its own “thing”.