It’s hard to believe that Christmas is less than a week away. In our area of southwestern Connecticut, the late fall has been filled with a multitude of weather events. A late-season hurricane named Sandy followed by her chilly friend, Athena, became the first winter storm of the season. I believe Draco is in the mid-west right now. Yes, folks, the Weather Channel is naming winter storms now, not the National Weather Service who is responsible for naming our hurricanes. They think it will be easier for people to follow – after all who wouldn’t want to follow a big hulking blizzard named Brutus or a savage nor’easter named Kahn or Triton.
More recently the weather has been milder than the way we started the month, albeit rainy. In spite of the tough New England conditions, we still have five containers of a variety of lettuces growing strong and have been providing us with wonderful fresh leaves for our tacos and salads. We’ve covered them at night when I know the temperatures will frost, but one container which has never been covered continues to thrive despite a few overnight frosts. I believe it’s the Tyee spinach which I have in a small container that sits at the bottom of our stairs somewhat protected from the winds. Tyee is a variety of spinach that has rich, dark green thick leaves. We also have growing Parris Island Cos which is a romaine lettuce. It’s crisp, sweet and delicous! The Red Sails is a buttery lettuce with ruffled burgundy tinged leaves. It was growing very nicely but the frost got to a few of the plants when we forgot to go out and cover the crops. The Winter Density is a Buttercos lettuce which combines the characteristics of butterhead and romaine. We have really enjoyed this lettuce in our tacos! It’s very cold tolerant since as I stated a few times we didn’t cover the crops and it shares a container with the Red Sail and despite the Red Sail looking a little frosty the Winter Density continues to thrive nicely. Lastly of the lettuces we have currently growing on the patio is the Buttercrunch. This Bibb-type lettuce forms a rosette, is bolt resistant and does well under stress.
|Winter Density and red sail lettuce|
Inside the herbs are cozy and warm – loving when the sun does shine. I brought in the rosemary, mint, spearmint, and two oregano plants. I brought in a container with the thought of possibly transplanting a plant when I noticed some seedling growth. We decided to see what was popping up on its own and give it some time to discover who was the volunteer. “Volunteers” are the seedlings which come up on their own from being dropped by the plant itself or bird etc… We put the grow light on it and last week discovered it appears to be a tomato plant! Makes sense since we were growing a tomato in it over the summer.
|Hard-sided Cold Frame|
The end of this week, Friday December 21st brings us the winter solstice . The winter solstice marks the start in the northern hemisphere for when our days begin to get longer and the nights shorter, as the sun rises farther to the north. Winter doesn’t mean that the growing season has to end though. Homegrown Harvest supplies both soft and hard-sided cold-frames, which are a great way to extend the growing season for many greens like mesclun, spinach, arugula and more.
It’s an exciting time for us at Homegrown Harvest LLC.. Mark and I are just getting the company started up and finally made our first sale this week. Some one lucky is getting a vegetable garden for Christmas! We have been working hard on getting all our marketing materials together for the home shows and farmer’s markets we plan on being at in 2013. We bought a new beautiful red Silverado 2500 that Mark has already dubbed “The Flying Tomato”. “The Flying Tomato” will be put to work helping us haul our growing medium, flats of plantings and other materials to deliver and set up for our clients. She made her first delivery today as a matter of fact. The first of hopefully many.