Yes, that’s snow on the outside!
It’s been a (select an adjective) winter this year, which is news to nobody, but its severity has particular relevance for the greenhouse-wannabe gardener. To you I say: There is hope, but not much hope was to be found in the past two months.
This sad-looking celery is still actually holding on; I figured it would up and die, so it was a bit of a successful experiment. I do pick around this plant often; it’s actually quite huge…and I will also let it go to seed this spring.
I have done a fair bit of cleanup and cleaning out of the new (Nov. 2008 ) greenhouse since my last update of it. Many of the greens have been consumed by the turkeys, geese and us, but more than is usual (that is, maybe 10-15%) became worthless packets of green cellulosic mush. Seriously gross slimy stuff! I blame the wet weather we had in the fall…I don’t think the greenhouse ever got a chance to dry up before we put the plastic on. (Normally, this is a fine thing: one needn’t water in the winter, you see, if the beds are damp when the hot weather stops. The greenhouse doesn’t let any of that moisture escape…and there’s my problem in the new greenhouse this winter: the beds were sopping.) I also believe that larger plants (most of the lettuces were fairly large when the frosts came and stayed) do less well than smaller plants. It’s too bad I can never tell when the cold is going to come and stay or I would plant small plants accordingly.
The old (Oct. 2007 ) greenhouse was underplanted this winter and many of its beds were allowed a season’s rest. But the cold has affected this stalwart (high and dry) greenhouse as well, as the seeds I had planted in November and December are as yet no-shows! Likewise the garlic hasn’t made much of an appearance. It really must be cold in there, and, checking my records, it is: it’s not that it’s necessarily colder (both winters experienced 18*F lows) but it hasn’t gotten as hot…the hottest day in there being only 80*F, averaging 50* during the day. Last winter it was regularly in the 70-90* highs, with a 60* day average range…so this winter, on top of being cold and snowy has been dark and cloudy, too.
Okay, mostly bad news, right? Well, there are some highlights. And mostly these highlights are calendar-based: the earth is tilting, and with that change comes more sun, and with more sun comes warmer greenhouses. In the interim, we’re all still eating plenty of…salad!