Did you know that lettuce can be grown in upstate New York in the winter? I’ve been under the impression that in the harsh winters of upstate New York that it was impossible to grow vegetables above ground unless I had a heating system. Brigitte Pohl-Knijff, an acupuncturist in South Salem, stuck more than needles in the ground last fall–she planted a garden! She moved into her new house in South Salem at the end of August, and started building a home-made hoop house. She started planting in September.
At Christmas-time she harvested the last of her romaine, because she hadn’t planted enough to last the winter. She says that if she had known it would have lasted after the freeze, she would have planted more. Her mache, miner’s lettuce and endive lasted through spring after a fall planting. Besides plants that overwintered, she planted seeds in the fall. By November they were an inch tall, but they didn’t grow during the coldest part of the winter, but resumed growth in February. At the beginning of March, her hoophouse was overwhelmingly full of oak leaf lettuce, arugula, winter romaine and spinach. Kale and chard were planted in mid-September. She cut them in December, and they are now already fully grown again. [Click here for a slideshow]
Why was she able to harvest lettuce in the winter? She thinks it is because “it doesn’t get wet inside the hoophouse, so somehow the plants survive. They don’t grow anymore, by you can havest leaves until the plant is gone, and then many of them will grow again in the spring.”
Brigitte is definitely a resourceful DIY builder. She built her first hoop house that is 20′ long and 6′ wide, and a newer one that is 20′ long and 12′ wide. It is built from rebar stakes, 3/4 inch pvc pipe, and pvc connectors. The whole thing is covered with 6 mil plastic. Inside she built pine board raised beds. She is fertilizing with compost made from her own kitchen, plus a mixture of bone meal, blood meal and green sand.
In these two spaces she is growing enough organic greens, carrots, culinary and medicinal herbs to share with her extended family and friends. You can find more information on hoophouse building on the University of New Hampshire’s cooperative Extension website: http://extension.unh.edu/fhgec/docs/HoopHous.htm .
The success of Brigitte’s winter garden in a very cold winter, with no heating source, shows that New Yorker’s and New Englander’s could be growing a considerable amount of their own produce year-round. Now that’s inspiring!
It might turn out to be a rainy weekend, but there is lots to do!
Saturday morning there is the South Salem Farmer’s Market at Gossett’s Nursery. You can also pick up your bedding plants there now too!
Saturday afternoon there is EcoChic Home and Wedding show at the Hotel Chesterfield. Be sure to check the KatonahGreen Calendar on the left hand side of the blog: http://www.katonahgreen.com.
Sunday there is a ‘green’ art opening at Ironwood Gallery in Ridgefield from 2-5. Come on out and sample some organic refreshments and buy some art that is beautiful and therapeutic!
Don’t forget the potluck on Thursday, May 7th, Katonah Green and Beyond’s first meetup! The location has been changed to BiLane Farm on Todd Road in Katonah.
Want natural options for preventing swine flu? Click here [you’ll have to enter your email and answer a few questions, but then the info is really good]