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Posts Tagged ‘winter garden’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kate and I planted these pea and kale seedlings out in the garden today…oh, how I missed gardening in the rain.  Hopefully these 32 kale plants will survive and produce incredible amounts of proteinaceous vitamin-filled leafy greens for our chickenlets.  About 4 days after planting them out in the garden bed, 75% of them are still alive, 20% are chewed down to the stems, and 5% are just…gone.  I’ll be happy if half of them turn into real grown up plants.  When David and i come back from our Idaho visit, we’ll put up a protective cloche over these guys to keep them alive and a bit more productive through the rain and cold.

The tomatoes are finally slowing down… but we still can’t keep up.  After two long weekends out of town, we have bowls of uneaten tomatoes, and i worry that most of the plants outside will be rotted.  Still hoping that we’ll get back in time to either put a cover over them to keep most of the rain off, or pull up the plants and hang them upside down to let the green tomatoes ripen- a trick learned from Kate and Dave.  Apparently the ripeness flows out of the vines and into the tomatoes without causing them to rot, and you have ripe tomatoes through the winter.

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So this weekend David and i went window shopping… literally- we bought windows to build a mini-green house for the garden.  There’s a store down the hill from us in Ballard called RE-store that takes stuff from old houses, buildings, schools and sells it second hand to people who are building or remodeling their own houses.  They’ve got everything from lumber to doors and windows to cabinets to bathtubs and toilets to light fixtures.  They currently have a set of three confessional booths from a Catholic church, several walls of lockers from a junior high school, and a super nice kitchen counter/sink/cabinets that i totally would have bought if we owned our house.  They have an amazing collection of windows- newer double-paned, metal framed ones and old, craftsman style lead or wood-paned ones and huge sets of bay windows and sliding glass doors.  When we own a house and have our own yard, we will definitely assemble a real green house with windows from RE-store.  But for now, a transportable mini-greenhouse made from $24-worth of windows will do.

The mini green house will sit just inside our 4ft wide beds and will be 4ft wide by 3ft long (that’s the size of the big, single paned window i found for the lid), 1.5ft tall in the front sloping up to 2ft in the back.  I brought my tape measure to RE-store and found matching windows to make the four walls; these will be arranged in a box on the ground with an open floor so that the lid will be sloping southward for maximum sunlight and heat absorption.  The lid will be set on a hinge so that it can be opened and propped up with a stick during planting and harvesting times.  There will be little triangle gaps between the side walls and the sloped lid that i will cover with some sort of hard plastic from home depot or a couple layers of plastic cloche cover or autoclave bags, which are quite durable.  I may caulk or weather seal the seams, and i may weatherize the windows with that thin plastic you can stretch across your windows and blow try smooth to keep heat in your house during winter.  If i do those things, this green house will be pretty toasty inside and will allow me to protect a 4×3 section of garden bed during one of Seattle’s biennial harsh freezes, or to start tomatoes or peppers or squash waaaaay earlier than normal.  But- lesson learned from forgetting to open the plastic cloche on hot days and frying the pepper plants this summer- we’ll have to watch the temperature and vent the green house appropriately.

I also bought 2 more big, single pane windows (slightly smaller than 4’x3′) that will become cold frames- essentially what i’ve just described above, but the side walls are made of wood.  This allows less light in but keeps more heat in, and with a southward slope these structures let in enough light to grow greens over the winter.

I’m stoked.  Must hurry up and pass general exam (November 9th!) so i can get back to gardening!

 

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