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What’s growing now: a picture feature

10 Apr

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Little plants in February?

17 Feb

Despite the lack of blog posts, we have been doing stuff on our little greenhouse project. Not much, admittedly, but stuff nonetheless. For instance, during the long, slow season of winter, we discussed a long-term plan for the project and helped some middle schoolers get projects started inside for the spring.

And then there was yesterday. 39 degrees outside; 104 degrees inside. Yep, that’s right. A 65 degree temperature difference. We all rushed out to the greenhouse to bask in the heat, and then promptly opened all the doors up and ushered a cold breeze inside. Oh yeah, we also planted up 72 row feet in greens for our spring CSA program. It’s exciting to think that spring is finally here, in the greenhouse at least.


How to pick seeds for winter production

6 Jan

So you’ve decided that you want to grow some vegetables for winter production. You’ve decided vaguely what you’re going to grow (for example, a gourmet salad mix). What’s left now is choosing your varieties. Continue on for the rest of the article

Vegetables Can Freeze, part 3: Carrots & Radishes

5 Jan

Radish "D'Avignon". Photo courtesy of Johnny's Selected Seeds.

Here we are in the third installment of “Vegetables Can Freeze.” Today’s topic: radishes and carrots. Will they survive a brutal freeze? Can they take the extreme cold of our Minnesota winters? Will they emerge stronger from their experience?

Well, yes. That’s why we’re writing about them. Both of these root crops have the virtue of a short season and improved flavor when grown in the cold.

When you think about the perfect carrot, usually it’s pretty far from the versions you find at your local grocery store, no?

Radish "Tricolored Easter Egg." Photo courtesy of Johnny's Selected Seeds.

Tough, woody, and soapy tasting–these carrots are gross and very common. But where can you find a tender, sweet, crunchy carrot that is actually a bright orange?

Why, in an unheated high tunnel, of course! Each time a carrot root freezes, some of the starch that is a part of its makeup is converted to natural sugar. This is why parsnips should be left in the ground until after a freeze and why potatoes shouldn’t be stored in the shed over the winter.

Carrot "Mokum." Photo courtesy of Johnny's Selected Seeds.

The same goes for radishes. Cold weather makes them crisp and sweet, which is especially great along with their spiciness.

So now I think that we’ve covered about enough on the vegetable thing, so the next “Vegetables Can Freeze” post will be about selecting seed for winter production.

2011, the year of (more) vegetables

5 Jan

Here we are, standing right at the beginning of the third calendar year of our project’s existence. We’ve come a pretty long way already, you know, having a greenhouse and all. So what can you all expect in the next year of the greenhouse project? We’ve come up with a short list.

1. Greenhouse Improvements (an automatic ventilation system)
2. Wind turbine (to power the inflation fan)
3. Grant application (to pay for the above two)
4. Our first harvest from our salad CSA, and
5. Our first fall planting (as opposed to a hasty winter experiment-type thing).

So now you have some sense of anticipation, hopefully, just like us. We hope that 2011 will be a productive and vegetable-filled year for everyone out there.