Thursday, January 3, 2013

How Gardeners Cope with Winter

We're turning the seasonal corner. 

It’s 5:10 p.m. and the orangey pink sun is at the horizon. We had daylight today for 9 hours and 45 minutes. That’s only four minutes longer than the shortest day of the year, but to me, it’s noticeable.  At the end of this month, the day will be 37 minutes longer, and at the end of February, it will be 1 hour and 41 minutes longer. Hooray! 

Still, winter lasts too long. I find it too unpleasant to be out in the garden even though the weeds seem to be spreading just fine.

HOWEVER, I have coldframes. They are situated to catch the sun as it moves low in the sky. Inside the frames it can get around 70, and my lettuce loves it!  So even when we have night time temperatures into the high 20’s, my lettuce thrives. 

I grow several varieties. I tried a romaine type this year, which grows fast and thick, but has a slightly bitter taste. I threw in some lettuces mixes, which are less prolific, but tastier.

 Of course I enjoy picking fresh lettuce. The real value for me, though, is knowing I am growing it in spite of winter. It’s like tricking nature. And it gives me a sliver-wide outlet for my gardening passion.

Dreaming also keeps me hanging on through these bleak months. This is the time of year I get a new seed catalog everyday.

I pick out my favorite varieties, and then look for something new to try. Last year’s newbie was a lemon cucumber. It grows round and yellow and had a delicious mild flavor. We ate them fresh and used the abundance for refrigerator pickles. 

Here’s a link to UpBeet Living, a blog with a couple of recipes for using the lemon cucumbers.

You can buy the seeds from  Burpee , Territorial Seed and Johnny's Seeds . I mention these because I buy from all three companies. I have found them reliable and moderately priced. 

How else do you cope with winter when you're longing for spring?

What new vegetable are you going to put in your garden this year? What did you try last year? 

Share! Share! We want new ideas. 

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