The greenhouses in winter’s cold grip

img_2614Greenhouse shallots, chilly but fine.

I am so glad this is not my first year with a greenhouse.  This fall/winter season has been uniformly horrible as far as the greenhouses are concerned:  cold, sunless, and did I mention cold and sunless?  And the lack of sun? And the cold?

Had this been the first year, I would be terribly disappointed.  The root crops are fine, and the hardier chickories and escaroles and kales are all limping along, but those poor fleshy lettuces could use some loving sunshine.  The sun will eventually come out again, however, and our own household discussions about what constitutes a blizzard will cease.  I looked at my gardening calendar and realized that December ’07 was sunnily out of the norm, whereas January was spot-on as far as expected temperature and solar radiation (which is of course a fancy way of saying how much sun had shone).  The greenhouses’ very long January last year has merely moved up a month this year.  February was stellar, and March even more brilliant.

Here’s hoping we see the sun again.  I for one am glad we’ve made it through the darkest hours of the year.

Peace and warmth to all of you.

13 responses to “The greenhouses in winter’s cold grip

  1. Things aren’t looking so good in my hoophouse, either. We’ve had colder and less sunny weather here, too, with December temps 2 degrees cooler than normal. In the hoophouse yesterday, the ground was frozen. Bring on the sun!

  2. Happy Holidays El! After today, I’m gone on a 12 day vacation with my DH! I hope that you have good times and great food and wonderful friends.

    See you back here on Jan 5! Happy New Year!

  3. I am so glad this is not my first year with a greenhouse. This fall/winter season has been uniformly horrible as far as the greenhouses are concerned: cold, sunless, and did I mention cold and sunless?

  4. Hey El,

    Last spring I traded hydraulic fluid for a 3-legged rusty woodstove. I’ve unfortunately burned thru all of the trash wood I’d hoped would last the winter. (The woodstove is rigged to suck air from outside the greenhouse.) At least the cost of propane here has gone down.


  5. We’re having freezing rain here today. Yuck.
    I hope you and your family have a spectacular Christmas.

  6. Not much brighter here. We’ve had lots of very gray, cold days here, and windy! It’s interesting to watch how everything handles it, what stands up, what doesn’t. Now if I could just get me to write down my observations…. Off to finish baking gingerbread houses and bread.

    Here’s to the sun’s return!

    Happy Holidays.

  7. p.s. I’m glad you gave the Christmas goose a reprieve.

  8. I hope the birdies are warm and healthy.
    Merry Christmas, friend.

  9. I love that you still have signs of life even in this weather! Even uncovered I have some extremely hardy kales that perk up every time the temp gets above freezing, but no other luck. No cash for a green house, but I have plans to cover my little lettuce bed. I have all my friends looking for old windows every garbage day. If all else fails I will hoop it up next year. Your winter pictures are just an inspiration.

  10. I agree with John M T, the fact that you can show us a sign of life in the cold and wet is a hopeful thought as we turn the corner of solstice and see the light ahead. I hope for a short, mild, winter and the return of the growing season for us all soon!

  11. You know, Ali, it’s you guys I had in mind with this post: I don’t want you to be discouraged. Believe me it’ll be a lot nicer in there in February!! Of course, I hope we’ll see the sun long before then…

    Jules! Fabulous. Are you going someplace…cold, perhaps? Either way enjoy your break. I’ve got spring fever or whatever it is you have when you have to work on Christmas Eve, and still so much to do, but yes, this should be a good holiday all around for everyone, I hope.

    Hi Keith! I think what you and your wife are doing is great. Wow: can one exchange precious combustion fluids for a woodstove? Cool! Yeah, what I have figured is it is not the heat (though that does help) it’s the lack of sun that makes greenhouse goodies less than happy. SO I wouldn’t mind the cold so much if it had some sun acccompanying it. I’m getting a little tired of kale.

    Thanks, Pamela, you too! And I knew you would catch on about the gander too. He’s a lucky boy.

    You too, Danielle! I’m pretty crap for note-taking too but I have a long memory. Blogging about it all certainly helps; it’s like I have a bit of a diary to fall back on if memory fails. Do you think one of the kiddos could help you with the note-taking process? You know, as a homeschooling science work or something? Though as a science project I would think making a gingerbread house would be much more fun…and more immediately tasty, you know? Have a safe warm holiday.

    Likewise, CC! Hope you and Cranky are whipping up something stellar, and sipping hot toddies through it all. I am actually off the hook for cooking, except for tonight; this will be quite a holiday indeed if I am kept out of the kitchen 🙂

    Hiya John MT, and welcome; I do have a couple of links in the Greenhouses tab above for some cheapo D.I.Y. hoop house frames, should you be interested. PVC conduit, some rope, some plastic, and you’d be good to go. But I do agree it’s quite fun to see this green stuff when your world is pretty white. And it all smells great too.

    Mangochild, thanks. Knowing how long our mud seasons are around here, though, I am not keen on seeing winter’s quick retreat! Snow and cold are fine I am just aiming for some sunshine in my stocking this year. Have a great holiday!

  12. El, I love reading your blog. It’s become my favorite garden blog. Peace and joy to you and your family this season and may your garden overwhelm you all of next year.

    • Aw, Dennis, you’re sweet! And being overwhelmed by a garden is something I wish on everyone for 2009, so right back at you! I hope to continue to be a source of garden…amusement to you in the coming year.

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