I’m a leeeeeeeeetle bit late posting this, but we’re having a bit of a warm spell so I’ll just pretend it doesn’t matter. Did that make sense?
No matter. Here’s what we’ve done…
Earlier this month we cleared out the two newest raised beds. We’d (okay, Bill did all this, but I’m saying “we” anyway) planted some of our intended winter greens in the first bed – that is, the bed closest to the house. Here we’ve got, front to back, lettuce, arugula, a mesclun mixture, tatsoi (I think) – it’s an Asian green of some kind…um…don’t remember what’s next and it’s too small to tell in the picture, and in the back row is pak choi, or bok choy, depending on how you want to spell it.
In the second garden (the one behind the first one)…
Bill loaded it with some of own, home-grown compost, dug little furrows, and planted…all sorts of things. I’m not getting off to a good start, am I?
Well, I do know that little bit of green on the right is radishes. Yeah. More radishes. We’ve had very good luck with radishes this year. Far better than we really needed. Hm. Mental note – don’t plant so much next year.
Anyway, those two pictures were from October 3rd.
Fast forward a bit to the 17th. Weather’s getting colder, occasional frosts are showing up in slightly higher elevation areas (and this is RI – we don’t have a whole lot of elevation to begin with, so “higher” is a relative term). Time to cover the beds.
We used narrow pvc and 5 mil plastic sheeting. And I have to stop here and thank our friend, Emily, for kind of getting us started here. One early spring she came over, just because she’s nice that way, and set up little enclosures to warm the soil in our main raised bed, enabling us to start seedlings outside earlier. We figured we’d use the set-up she gave us as our winter green-huts. (Can’t really call them greenhouses…they’re a bit small. Green-tents?)
Well, first, Bill wrapped the artichoke plant. He’s got a tomato cage under there, too, to help support both the plant and the plastic.
We’re thinking we might enlarge this one. It seems too tight…not enough room for the plant to grow, if it chooses to, and not enough air flow. But it’s a start.
Oh, and way over to the left? All that leafy green? Radishes. Big as beets. Bill keeps calling them beets, and this year’s beets actually didn’t do well at all.
Bill moved the little cold frame we’d been using to cover the little bit of basil in the garden by the fence. It was too late for the basil anyway. No problem – we had LOTS of other basil.
Oh – and as you can see, we enlisted the help of our junior gardeners. Julia was extremely helpful.
Actually, she was helpful. She helped Bill roll out the plastic…
And then she continued to do her part by making sure the yard was level.
Whoops! Guess it tilts to the east a bit over there.
Anyway. Back to the gardens.
Bill had already set up the support structures for our greenhuts – you can see the pvc pipe poking up from the corners of that front garden, and to Bill’s left as well, right near the swiss chard.
You can buy rolls of plastic in different thicknesses – 3, 5, 6, etc., and different lengths – at places like Home Depot and Lowe’s, by the way.
Nice and level over here!
Once the plastic was evenly covering the two raised beds, Bill anchored one side with tent stakes.
Once that whole side (the west side, fyi. Not because it’s western, but because the other side is much easier to access.) was firmly pinned to the ground, Bill and Alex gathered up rocks and bricks and other heavy things to hold down the plastic the rest of the way around the two beds.
Julia decided it was time for her kettlebell exercises.
There’s always time in the day for a little fitness.
This one’s too easy! Where’s my 300 pounder?
Alex prefers to keep busy with heavy hunks of concrete instead.
Kettlebells are for girls. Real men lug landscaping concrete.
Now, once the gardens were all covered, we moved all the heavy pieces and uncovered it again, because the sun was still out.
Next step – fortifying the soil in the garden by the fence, and moving some of the parsley over.
A good watering, and then it was time to cover this garden, too.
OH – a word of caution!
Plastic, no matter how carefully packaged, is never completely domesticated.
It can revert to wild and dangerous behavior at any moment.
Fortunately, Bill knows how to wrestle plastic, and soon he had the stuff subdued.
Alex helped some more.
He’s such a good little garden helper.
You got that plastic under control on your end, Daddy?
Just don’t mess with the asparagus.
He’s rather protective of it.
Anyway, back to the gardens again…
A few more bricks, or brick-like no-longer-in-use decorative borders (this used to be part of the border around our cherry tree)…
And the job was done.
But wait! There’s more!
Last Friday Bill decided, after work, to check out the climate inside the larger greenhut. (I like the term “greenhut.” I’m keeping it.)
I’d been keeping tabs on the humidity in there during the week, making sure nothing dried out, and I only watered once. Inside? It felt like a rainforest.
Care to check it out?
In we go!
Look at that! It’s like spring! So much yummy greenness!
And see that little seedling, pretty much dead center in the picture above?
It’s a tomato. There are a bunch of them – they just seeded themselves before we put the plastic up.
It will be pretty interesting to see how they do as the weather gets colder. Will it still be warm enough in the greenhut for the tomatoes?
Only the Shadow knows!
Well, he probably doesn’t. I don’t think he gardened.
And in the other bed…
Most of the seeds Bill planted earlier have sprouted and are looking good.
So, at this point, the greenhuts are keeping the plants pretty happy.
But it’s not the most comfortable place for humans – the condensation on the inside of the plastic kept dripping on us.
But that’s okay.
As long as the seedlings are happy, that’s all that matters.