Sunday, October 26, 2008

Greenhouse on the moon- kale, kale and more kale

Last week we had our first hard frost. Tonight we'll have another one, although it should be warmer than the 19 degrees we had last week. At that temperature, many things that had been hanging on, ceased to do so. Unfortunately I had failed to take in the last of the tomatoes, trusting the greenhouse plastic we'd wrapped the bed in. In the morning I checked a couple of tomatoes and found them frozen solid. Oh well, the end was inevitable. The total take for our tomatoes this summer was 79 pounds. I'll round up to 80. In my larder are 12 pints of dried tomatoes that I will try very hard to leave alone for a while.
On that very cold night the greenhouse got down to 25 degrees and everybody looked a little shocked I admit (although in about a day everything had recovered). I had strung up a string of mini Christmas lights inside, and this was the equivalent to a 100 watt light bulb. Looking at my huge wilting greens, I thought over my plan not to heat the greenhouse at all and I decided the following:
The greenhouse has in it a great deal of mature, tasty vegi.s that are now becoming important to us as Cure Farm has now transitioned to their winter share and as this is the equivalent to a medium share, we are scaled down from the large share (plus two fruit shares) of the summer. I'm also no longer volunteering there and the volunteer days brought home vegi.s as well. Therefore, the vegi.s in my greenhouse constitute local produce that would cost money and carbon to replace. I decided therefore, to put an efficient little oil heater out in the greenhouse for the coldest periods so as to maintain the huge greens until we've harvested them down somewhat. I think that plants with younger, smaller leaves may be more frost hardy (particularly of types of vegetables I have growing) than these plants with huge leaves, although this is all a learning experience for me. In any case, we've started eating greens from the greenhouse in earnest now. My current staples include several types of kale (Red Russian, Siberian, Dinosaur), Swiss chard in different colors, and the occasional lovely large beet with it's stalks and greens. I'm sparing of the arugula, spinach and the leaks, and the turnip greens are only now big enough to start harvesting from. I have a little pok choi and broccoli- one broccoli plant in the greenhouse is producing and I'm waiting on a couple others.

I have not been running into any references to planting for greenhouses this time of year, so I feel very experimental putting seeds in the ground. So far (within the last few weeks) I've planted bunching onions, field peas, garlic cloves and corn salad. All have come up and are growing slowly but without issues. I have gone to the Farmer's Market once recently, and I've added walking onions to the garlic I get from Jay Hill every other week or so. Last weekend I bought 60 lb.s of apples from Ella Family Farms when Russ and I visited the harvest festival at Full Circle Farms. Apple sauce, apple juice, dried apples, apples in the root cellar and the fridge. This week I'll stock up on squashes from Munson as I do every year now. Squash is good in soup with the kale....

No comments: