Thinking in four seasons

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Deliberately starting a gardening year in January is a tricky thing. There's plenty of snow on the ground, plenty of cold in the air. There isn't a whole lot growing - though that's largely because I hadn't planned for anything, except kale, to come through into winter.

I've been reading Eliot Coleman's Four-Season Harvest, and that was part of what got me thinking it was time to commit more time to the garden, on a year-round basis. Gardening doesn't have to be a sprint in spring, weeding and watering in summer, and a harvest at the end in autumn before going into hibernation.

He seems to be working in the same Zone (5) as our house, with similar days of cold, in a slightly higher latitude. It seems pretty clear that we should be able to make his approaches work in our own northern climate, though I worry that being on the north side of a hill make offset our slight advantage in sunlight.

At the outset, I like that he explains a few different approaches, from classic winter root cellaring and forcing through cold frames, greenhouses, and greenhouses with row covers inside. There's also a section on ducks that has me thinking that they might be a nice supplement to the chickens we already have.

For this year, I'm guessing that I'll start planning with some of his more exciting ideas in mind, but will probably mostly make sure I leave room to put in a greenhouse rather than build one. I've wanted to build cold frames for a while now, and it's past time to do something about that.

His idea of succession planting is very appealing - more on that soon - but first I have to get more plants actually starting successfully...

Eventually, I'd like to do the two-layer greenhouse. It seems likely to extend harvests in a way that isn't otherwise possible without a lot more infrastructure. I'm a little annoyed that I finally took all of the metal frames I had from political campaigns down to metal recycling when it now seems clear that they'd have been great for the row covers. (I still have a few from the latest race, though.)

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This page contains a single entry by Simon St.Laurent published on January 2, 2008 1:09 PM.

Resolution was the previous entry in this blog.

Animals and winter is the next entry in this blog.

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