We are experimenting this winter. We are planting lettuce, cole crops (broccoli and cauliflower), and tomatoes in our greenhouses over the winter! Does anyone else out there do that? If so, it would be nice to hear about your experiences.
Gary started looking anew at our old geodesic dome greenhouse this fall. With a little clean-up and repair, it looked like it might serve as more than a winter storage for our potted citrus trees and bougainvillea. The biggest challenge turned out to be the panels in the roof that should open or shut, depending on the inside temperature. The levers for working the panels had disappeared long ago, so Gary needed to construct a new mechanism. This he did after puzzling over it for a few hours and trying out some different approaches. I never cease to be amazed at the amount of ingenuity that goes into farming. One must possess an amazing breadth of skills.
The raised beds around the perimeter of the dome are now planted with lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower. A drip line has been installed, and judicious opening and closing of vents on the sides and the roof will enable us to maintain a daytime temperature between 50 and 80 degrees.
Gary has also prepared some flats in our newer greenhouse where we will be able to set some plants. For the time being, we are even using a heater to keep the temperature above 70 degrees. Tomato seeds must be kept warm in order to sprout. When the plants are big enough, we will plant them in the flats. It is fun to anticipate peeking into the green house on chilly winter days and seeing leafy tomato plants. We should have tomatoes from them in early spring.
If all goes according to plan, when the weather gets too cold for the crops in our outdoor garden beds, we will still be enjoying a modicum of fresh veggies. But for the time being, we are still producing lettuce and anticipating broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beets and sugar snap peas in our outdoor beds.
We are also developing new plans for distributing our produce. Next spring, we will begin distributing our produce to subscribers using a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model. We are currently researching containers, content and cost, and trying out different distributions on our friends.
I guess this is the time of year for thinking, planning, being creative. In the summer, it is all we can do to keep up with the harvesting!