EUREKA !!! It was a Success and Not a Failure !

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Winter Harvest 2011

In 2011 we decided to attempt a winter greenhouse here in Vermont based on Eliot Coleman‘s book Winter Harvest and grow winter greens. We knew we were late getting the seeds planted and the hoop house finished but moved forward with our plans.

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Winter Hoop House before Greenhouse Plastic Installed

The two raised beds in this house were hooped w/ 10′ PVC pipe and then we planned a row cover inside this smaller hoop which we never got around to using.

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Mustard Greens Started & Small Spinach Plants

As I said, we were late planting for this winter project. Mustard greens had the best start. Spinach really small and the other side, the other 4’x8′ bed, had two varieties of Kale that were at the stage of the mustard.  So we didn’t harvest the greens we had hoped for. The plants lived through our Vermont winter (remember no auxiliary heat source) and really took off in the Spring.  We knew we had planted late but still considered it a first try failure.

2012 was a complicated year and we were far enough behind that we decided not to do our second try.  We figured we’d give it a go this year, 2013.

WELL!  Today we attended the Spring Open House at High Mowing Organic Seeds  and Tom and I selected the:

  • Winter Greenhouse Tour with Katie Traub & Gwenael Engelskirchen –
    Learn about overwintering brassicas and other biennials for seed production. We’ll focus on timing of fall plantings, winter chores, special care for seed crops, pollination, when and how to harvest.

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High Mowing Organic Seeds’ Tunnel House 3/16/13

Great information that showed us we had not failed!  Our winter house had acted properly. We do need to plant earlier (we knew that) if we want the luxury of harvesting some fresh greens during the winter months.

The information we harvested today also will have us start holding some plants over for seed.  Thinking we will start with Red Onions and Beets as we start learning to save seeds.

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Onion ready to send up new growth and go to seed.

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Beets already showing new growth and progressing towards going to seed.

So we returned home invigorated!  Knowing that we had not failed in 2o11 and looking forward to this coming winter when we will again have hardy greens and small numbers of beets and onions as we prepare to master some biennial seed saving!

High Mowing Organic Seeds has a large resource section on their website with valuable information.

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3 Responses to EUREKA !!! It was a Success and Not a Failure !

  1. Mary Carmen March 17, 2013 at 6:21 am #

    So much to learn, I know nothing about saving seeds. I will have to do some reading. I will follow your progress and take in what trials and error you go through!

  2. James Trundy Verrill March 17, 2013 at 9:15 am #

    Start w/ something easy like beans.. but be aware that you should plant one variety if you want pure seeds. This will be part of our process – deciding what variety we are happiest w/ and sticking w/ it. Maybe have a friend, enough distance away, do another.

    There are some books out there. Susan Ashworth’s is oe I always carried when I was w/ Borders.

    http://www.amazon.com/Seed-Growing-Techniques-Vegetable-Gardeners/dp/1882424581

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