On Christmas Day we went out to the garden to take care of what we should have done in the fall. And we made a video about it. How unusual.
I'm a big fan of Eliot Coleman, and his book, The Four Season Harvest. Its full of a ton of information, one of the things that stuck with me is that South of France is on the same parallel, the 44th, as Eliot's house in Maine. France grows vegetables in the winter, and we don't. Or most of us don't. Eliot does grow vegetables in winter. Check out his site here Eliot has a new book out on winter gardening, The Winter Harvest Handbook, which you can buy from your local bookstore or here.
I usually put a cold frame on one of our raised beds to grow cold hard greens in the late fall and early spring. I have yet to master Eliot's methods of getting greens thru the winter. You can see our video on how to build a cold frame on this page of our site.
Watch this Gardenfork episode for more on plastic mulch, cold frames, and of course the Labradors.
I find your videos entertaining and charming. Love the dogs! I have two of my own who help me in the garden. Many thanks for your videos! I've been attracted by your site since I notice that you're into rough carpentry ("hey, its a greenhouse"!) and creating a cheap version of 30-year-aged balsamic vinegar (Altho I've done that years ago I was still interested in your video) ...
Anyway ... to the point. I live in Ottawa, Canada where it gets rather more cold than where you live. Our -20C temps Dec thru Feb kind of hinder our ability to grow stuff during our winter. And I love to grow veggies and push the season as much as I can. To the point ... I have a very small back yard and have two 4' x 4' raised beds. Rather than putting black plastic down, using 2 x 2's I built a 4' x 4' frame to go on top of the beds. In the middle of these frames I constructed a middle section in the middle of the frame - 1'" x 4" to form a kind of a tent. Then, I stapled plastic on the top and bottom of the frame. This created a kind of insulated space like a storm window. Next, I laid the frame on top of the 4' x 4' raised bed, glued some cheap foam insulation on the bottom of the frame, then anchored the frame to the top of the bed with some old bicycle tubes tied to screws in the bed and the frame.
I usually install the frames in March (if I can dig the beds out from the snow) and the beds are ready for planting by mid-Apr ... here in Ottawa, we're usually pushing our luck if we plant earlier than mid-May. I'll bet this rather crude project would intrigue you and I'll bet you'd be amazed by the results!
You guys have a great formula for a web site. Love the commentary from off camera and the casual presentation (I know that takes a little prep but that's our little secret, right?).
Since we live in Minnesota, we are enjoying your episodes on winter gardening and coldframes. The format for your show and website are very good, and thank you for keeping any construction projects fairly simple.
Do you have a woodburning stove? Woodburning cook stove? How many acres do you have? Why don't you plant more than four small raised beds?
Eric Gunnar Rochow
Hi jon, between a full time job and running this website, i can only manage a small garden. i'd love to have more, just can't right now. thx
Hi! I've read today an article at the NYTimes about urban foraging in Winter, when there's not much to find over there. It'd be very cool if you could prepare a video about which species or plants could be harvested somewhere in a park, the open country... wherever. Love this web, very nice and very funny, in fact, thanks!