Here comes the sun today… and leaf lettuce and spinach in my all WINTER greens bed.
Last fall… i started greens and managed to grow them all winter successfully here in TN zone 7a.
From Oct 2022 to June 2023… had greens to harvest in this bed. Several hundred great salads .
Trying that again this year… with a bit later start… and some improvements to my bed.
I made it a bit larger… added a bunch of homemade compost and increased the soil depth (2 bricks high).
It has a cattle panel frame over it and will be covered with floating row cover (plus sheets, blankets) when needed… and will be heated with incadescent Christmas lights when needed.
I had leaf lettuce that survived and thrived thru our low of 3F last year… and several other nights in the low teens.
I successfully germinated spinach and leaf lettuces in Jan/Feb last winter.
Anyone else enjoy this type of all winter growing challenge ?
Got hot beds or cold frames or green house you grow in ?
Would love to see how you do it. Welcome share pics and details here.
Does covering lessen the insect pressure on your winter greens?
@Shibumi … I dont really have any insect problems with my winter greens… Oct-March… too cool for them i guess. In April, May June they start showing up and increasing. Mine bolted by June last year… the end.
Last year I grew some Brussel sprouts, 2 kinds of bok choy, and carrots with a few leaf lettuce thrown in.
These were in-ground plantings.
The Brussel sprouts were completely destroyed. One of the two bok choy also had about 50% leaf damage while the other variety had minimal damage. Carrots weren’t touched nor were the leaf lettuce.
I didn’t spend any time on the garden so I’m not sure what insect did the damage…
I was wondering if growing them with a cover a bit like yours (on a smaller scale) would help.
I leave my floating row cover off (rolled back) unless our forecast is like 32 or below.
If it is going on down to mid 20s… i may put on top a few old bed sheets and blankets… and much colder than that … the incadescent christmas lights are used.
This pic is from last winter.
I need to figure out how to get an intact cattle panel on my Outback. I’ve been cutting them in half to move them thus far
Get two 16’ 2x4s and lash them to the roof rails, lash the panels to the 2x4s, tie warning colors on the back and drive slowly! That’s what I did with my '95 Legacy wagon.
My 95 chevy has a 7 ft bed… and i cut them for transport back home… one 10 ft with a 6 ft on top of it for example… works.
Or one 12 ft… a 4 ft and a couple 8 footers on top.
I have some greens going in my flat garden too… a big swath of collards and kale… and this smaller bed of spinach and lettuce. Notice how i pitched that bed with a south slope. Helps when growing in cool season.
Those are much more likely to fall prey to deer, rabbits, jack frost.
Found these examples online…
I can tie them just on my Outback if I cushion the end of my hood for attachment there. I just haven’t committed to it.
I can take 45mph roads all the way home.
Not sure if you feel like having tender greens but have you thought about growing Longevity spinach and/or Okinawa spinach for your summer greens? I started with those for my summer greens since everything else seems to bolt nearly instantly from May-September. And now they are almost my year round greens. You’d need to pot them for the winter but they root so easily, cut a branch and stick it in water and it will root easily in a week. I’ve got 2 in ground and they will die back likely this winter but should come back here from the roots, but for me nothing is better in the heat and they taste great (to me and the wife). Try em out!
I do have a Malabar spinach growing by a volunteer seed from a few years ago. I haven’t tried eating/cooking it. The slimy description has put me off a bit even to harvest and try it. Should do before it freezes in December
I have not tried those… but need to. I found a vid on them by migardner.
My over winter greens bolted in early june last year… we had an abundance of great salad greens until then.
So… this longevity / okinawa spinach… do you start it from seed in the spring ? and let it grow and propigate it all spring, summer, fall … while consuming it ?
Just from cuttings, I am gonna see if they live outside this winter, because now I have so many of them I can sacrifice some. I could send you some cuttings if you’d like
I have Malabar spinach also and it’s pretty but I haven’t tried the leaves because mine always has had not much leafage, it’s predominantly blooms/berries and vine. Maybe next year it will leaf out more and I’ll try more of it. I’ve just eaten a leaf or two off of it and it tasted fine, I’m sure it would be far too slimy cooked.
I meant it by saying it was a volunteer plant. Growing at the edge of a limestone walkway in 100% shade against a east-west fence.
@Gkight … thank you for the offer…
Sounds like if you send me cuttings now… they root easily in water… or from what i saw on YT this morning… they root pretty easily in a pot or in ground if you keep them moist.
So… i should be able to root those cuttings… and eventually get them growing in a pot… and put them in my basement south facing window until i can set them out in the spring.
How cold hardy are they ? Can they take a light frost or do you wait until all danger of frost is past before you plant them outside (similar to tomatoes) ?
I would love to try some.
I have several things I can offer for a trade… will send you my list and address via PM.
The stuff I see says 8b/9a hardiness with dieback from hard frosts but typically come back in spring when mulched heavy. My ground doesn’t ever hard freeze so I think they will be fine so my big two are in ground but I have several in pots to make it through winter in the greenhouse in case they don’t make it. But I’d say they are good outside of the 20s
Thanks for the pics @TNHunter ! I am trying winter greens on a much smaller scale for the first time this year. It’s four 4x4’ beds, I found some 4x4’ frame/cover pre-made setups which I am putting over them.
So far most things are not growing very fast, not sure why. The soil was supposed to be rich but I’m starting to wonder about that.
@scottfsmith … we have been getting 80s/60s this week… my hot bed is on south side of home… just off a brick wall… and the entire bed slopes to the south… all that helps.
We have had very little rain the past month… so i am watering about every other day.