We are completely amazed! This is the spinach from last year growing. We originally had it under a tunnel along with lettuce which lasted almost into February due to a mild winter. After the lettuce finally gave in to a freeze we took the cover off and let the spinach do whatever it was going to do.
Surviving multiple snow storms this spinach is sweet with tender thick leaves. Unbelievable that we can possibly have a perennial spinach growing here! We are tempted to see if the same spinach will last another winter!
We finally got a break in the weather to start planting! Besides the wintered over spinach that is starting to grow again with the warmer nights, we finally put together our first tunnel. Lettuce is the first seeding so the tunnel will protect it from frost which we tend to get at this time of year. Our last frost has been known to be as late as Mother’s Day!
Since it worked out so well last year to grow lettuce through succession planting, by only planting only one section at a time, one week apart, we started the first section of our row with 4 internal rows of various lettuces. Every week we will seed another section and by the time we finish seeding the last section, the first section will be full size. This results in lettuces at different stages so customers can always get perfectly ripe lettuce instead of all old lettuce at the end of the season. We just pull out any bolting lettuce (old and going to seed), and replant with new seed. We managed to keep good lettuce into November!
First row in means the rest are not far behind! Wish us luck with the weather!
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 are getting into late fall so it’s time to collect seeds for next year before they blow away or are ruined by bad weather. This picture is of bolted lettuce that was left to bloom and as you can see it’s loaded with seeds. They are a lot like dandelions where if you blow them the seeds float away. You collect them by carefully pulling them off the stalk and removing the white propeller top that usually helps them float in the air. They are tiny seeds.
I collected spinach seed which also grow on a stem that bolts up from the plant. They don’t have propellers. The seeds dry in litter clusters on the side of the stem Once dry, they are easy to just peel off pop into an envelope.
Bean and pea seeds are easy. You have a bean or pea pod full of beans or peas, they dry, you pop the pod open and pull the dried beans or peas out. It’s as simple as that.
Cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and peppers have seeds inside the fruit. Collect the seeds, rinse them and dry them on a paper towel before storing.
Unfortunately my carrots and beets did not bolt which means I will need to purchase more seeds for next year. I’ll have to do a little more research on how to promote bolting on these root vegetables. I’ve only been successful with radishes. Here is crossing my fingers for next year,
If you want to view how to do a little seed collecting, you can watch a video on the farm’s Youtube channel:
The spring spinach went to seed awhile ago and now the stalks are full of dried seeds. It’s time to collect the seeds and plant a fall crop! It’s very simple. Just run your fingers down the stalk and filter out the dead leaves and branches. I store them in the original seed packet I bought the first set from. Many times I have too many to fit into a packet. You can use zippable plastic bags or old spice bottles. Just make sure they are perfectly dry.
I cleaned out the spinach bed and carefully placed the seeds around the soaker hose. Rather than digging small holes, I topped everything with compost and covered unseeded areas with straw to suppress weeds. That was a week ago and I already have spinach coming up for the fall!
This is a monumental moment! We have made our first sales! The only thing we have to sell is radishes and spinach but it’s still official! Comments so far is how spicy the radishes are. We have Red Cherry Belles that apparently heated up. Luckily we also have some White Hailstone Radishes that are a little milder for those who like radishes but aren’t willing to buy the hot ones. We are quickly selling out of spinach because the weather is heating up and spinach does not like the heat. It’s already starting to go to seed.
While there is disappointment that we don’t have a variety yet, the collards, lettuce and summer squash are not too far away from harvesting!