We are happy to say that although it is mid November we still have edible lettuce, spinach cilantro and a large variety of root vegetable. Leaving covers over low growing caterpillar tunnels has greatly extended our growing season this year.
When there is a nice day we just open the tunnels, harvest what we would like for the next couple days and give the row a sprinkle of water so the vegetables do not dry out.
In the end we had lettuce into February, carrots and beets in March and the spinach never died. It continues to grow! Even the cilantro roots are starting to grow again.
It just takes a little persistence to keep vegetables protected and lightly watered to have fresh veggies all winter!
We planted the root vegetables early, covered, and they are growing quickly. One of our challenges in previous years is growing enough carrots for the entire season’s demand. If we planted more than we did last year, by late season the carrots that were not pulled yet would be too big for our customers. Plus, we would run out of space in the root vegetable bed to grow the variety that people like.
Our new solution is succession planting. We tried this technique a little last year and it seemed to work. In succession planting we don’t plant everything at once. That way we have vegetables growing in different stages of maturity. We have enough of a growing season to have 3 phases of planting. By the end of the season the last carrots planted should come out the correct size.
There are actually 4 rows in our bed pictured. The first row to the left are radishes. They grow and sell quickly and don’t grow well in the heat so we usually don’t sell them later in the summer. The second row to the left are carrots. You will notice in the forefront there is nothing growing. I’m saving that space to plant carrots a little later in the year so they don’t grow too big. The third row is beets which grow almost perfectly against demand so I leave them as is. The far right row is turnips and parsnips. I split this row as these are not as popular as the others. If the turnips are selling out, which can happen, I re-seed a small section again to have more turnips later in the season for those customers.
As the radishes sell I’m replacing them with more carrot seeds. You can see that the radish tops are being replaced by carrot tops at the far left. My hope is to have enough carrots to sell and even possibly winter over under cover for just the family.