Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Year Round Salads

Hey everybody, my mother has graciously written another post for you. Enjoy!

Having grown up in the Midwest, I learned that after cleaning up the garden after the first frost (late September, early October), nothing else was done until Spring unless you were lucky enough to have a full fledged, heated greenhouse. But Sacramento is a different story; gardening can be a year around pursuit. Even without a greenhouse of some sort, veggies can be grown for 9 to 10 months of the year. However, with some sort of shelter, gardening can be a 12 month undertaking.

I found these little popup greenhouses at Emigh Hardware several years ago that are 4 foot x 4 foot and fit perfectly over my raised beds. They have lots of zippers to allow access and ventilation and fold up into a very small round carrying case. It is a bit of a trick figuring out how to fold them but I always seem to be able to get it done. When you take them out, you just throw them onto the ground and they spring up into a neat little greenhouse. They have grommets around the edges so I put some eyescrews near the bottom of my raised beds and either tie or bungie cord the greenhouses to the eyescrews to keep them from blowing away in a winter storm.

Of course, you can’t grown summer crops in them like tomatoes or peppers without supplemental heat, but they are great for onions, radishes, lettace, spinach and other cool weather crops. It means that with very little work you can enjoy fresh salads year around.

I put these up 3 weeks ago and have green onions almost ready to eat. For some reason this year my first planting of lettace and spinach did not sprout but I replanted them and the new ones are sprouting. My seeds were a bit old the first time but I used new ones the second. Sometimes old seeds will sprout with no problem, sometimes they don’t.

These little greenhouses also make great Spring hot houses for starting seeds when the evening temps are still too cold for most seeds to sprout.

My next project will be in January when I am going to try to build a 3 foot x 4 foot raised bed with a greenhouse top made from 2 x 2 lumber and clear vinyl from the fabric store that can fold flat for summer storage. If it works, I will post the design….if it doesn’t you will never, never hear another word about it.

I wish you all happy gardening, successful preserving, creative cooking and delicious eating.

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