Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Undercover Gardening

The last of my lettuce and greens.
Fall is the time I put most of my garden to bed, but with a little bit of care the growing season can be extended and outdoor plants in containers can be protected through the cold months. When my rhubarb stops producing in fall, I cover the container to protect the roots.

My rhubarb growing in a container.
I start by removing any remaining small stalks, then crumple newspaper to provide several inches of insulation.

Air pockets in the scrunched up paper provide protection from cold and ice. Next comes a round of cardboard.



The final step is to cover the cardboard with soil.


I have protected my rhubarb like this for over ten years. Last year it was doing so well I was able to divide the roots.


The other thing I do in fall is protect the last of my greens to enjoy them for as long as possible. I use either plastic mesh or small tomato cages to support covers made from clear tall kitchen plastic garbage bags. It makes a quick and easy greenhouse.


The bags protect the containers from getting too wet during fall rainstorms. They also focus warmth from the waning sun and protect the plants from the worst effects of freezing temperatures.


The plant that did the best using my impromptu green houses was Corn Salad. In a small container it doesn't produce much, but the fresh tasty leaves continued to use in salads throughout winter.


Last summer I made a hoop tunnel to protect my lettuce from the hot summer sun. It continues to provide protection for the remaining lettuce, chard and arugula.

Do you grow fall and winter crops? How do you protect them for extended harvests? -- Margy

18 comments:

  1. Seems like an awful lot of work to me! But then I was never much of a gardener.

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    1. I'm not a great gardener, but I do love to experiment and eat my successes. - Margy

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  2. Such great ideas. I just ate the last of our home grown fresh tomatoes, loads in the freezer too though. I hate to have to buy tomatoes again

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    1. My tomatoes have been gone for about a month, except for the sauce and canned ones I made. - Margy

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  3. Great ideas, I admire your creative mind and 'green' fingers... hope it will all bloom and grow wonderfully

    Have a ♥-warming ABC-Wednes-day / -week
    ♫ M e l d y ♫ (abc-w-team)
    http://melodymusic.nl/21-u

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    1. It's so nice to have something fresh in winter, but it doesn't last too long. - Margy

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  4. You're brilliant. I thought I'd do a winter garden this year. We shall see. I've so many things on my want-to-do list.

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    1. Do you get freezing temps in Hollister? I know it gets cold, my grandma lived in the Modesto area. - Margy

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  5. I don't have any winter crops - but I need to protect a few of my small shrubs that are still in pots - lilacs and hydrangeas. My snowball bush is big enough now to fend for itself. Do you think that the crumbled newspaper and then a loos plastic wrap would work for protecting the lilacs and the hydrangeas. Last year two of them froze and didn't come back.

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    1. I would think it would be a good thing to try. Especially the loose plastic covering would help prevent the worst from freezing temperatures. - Margy

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  6. Replies
    1. I have to keep trying. Plus I just love gardening experiments. - Margy

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  7. Hello, we have not grown anything this year. I did miss my tomato plants. Great dieas and tips. have a happy day and weekend!

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    1. Gardening can really tie you down, especially in drier summer months. - Margy

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  8. Thank you for the great ideas! I have some herbs and was wondering how to overwinter them. I had some lavender that had bloomed profusely one summer and never came back.

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    1. I haven't been able to start lavender from seed. Next spring I'm thinking about buying a small plant at the nursery to give it a head start. - Margy

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  9. Hi Margy — I suspect many of us would love to live the life you two are living, in such a wonderful spot up the coast of beautiful British Columbia. Then we have to recognize our limitations and admit we couldn't do the things you and Wayne are doing. Still, there is always admiration, and for you I have a lot of it.
    Kay
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

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    1. We knew we couldn't live in the float cabin forever, so we decided to retire early to give ourselves more time. So far we can handle the weather and chores. When that ends, we will leave with all our great memories. - Margy

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