Salad Greens Growing in a Hoop House in Winter
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This time of year, the vegetable garden and orchard remind us of what was and what will be, come next growing season. Starting at the Summer’s solstice, the Earth began its inhale of energy from the cosmos. In time, we began to see growth decelerate, then flowers fade, and ultimately leaves turn and fall. Critters from all walks of life began dormancy or migrated to warmer climates. Now, above the soil, things look dull and lifeless. Our farmers know better than most, that looks can be deceiving. This is the time of year when the Earth becomes most inwardly alive-recharging itself and storing all the potential energy destined for the great exhale of energy that starts on Winter's solstice and culminates with what we all call Spring.

As the energetic dance of the seasons goes on outside, inside our High Tunnels, our crops seem to forget that any time exists between November and March. The structures themselves do most of the work of extending the growing season, but our farmers, through crop choice, play the main role in ensuring they are as productive as possible. Our small, unheated high tunnel standing on the south side of the garden has the hardiest crops we can find. The two larger, heated high tunnels are loaded with cool loving, low-light tolerant crops that provide a bounty all Winter long.

Inside our High Tunnels, you'll find a substantial crop of Bonardo - Purple Sprouted Broccoli. An over-Wintering variety, it is said to reach maturity in 210 days! Beneath the broccoli are hardy salad greens of claytonia and chick greens. Believe it or not, we have a second planting of Winter salad greens that were planted after a round of cauliflower, broccoli, and potatoes finished up. This will be the bulk of our Blackmore Farm Signature Salad until Spring. Winter greens planted in October are still holding on, but will be slowly phased out as we get ready for warmer weather plantings, including the tomato family, which may be in the ground as early as March.