If you only grow from the last frost to the first frost, your gardening season is extremely short. But a few simple season-extension techniques can mean you harvest fresh food nearly every day of the year. I've used Eliot Coleman's crop suggestions and his quick hoops and can say from experience that they make all the difference during the cold season.
Choosing locally grown organic food is a sustainable living trend that s taken hold throughout North America. Celebrated farming expert Eliot Coleman helped start this movement with The New Organic Grower published 20 years ago. He continues to lead the way, pushing the limits of the harvest season while working his world-renowned organic farm in Harborside, Maine. Now, with his long-awaited new book, The Winter Harvest Handbook, anyone can have access to his hard-won experience. Gardeners and farmers can use the innovative, highly successful methods Coleman describes in this comprehensive handbook to raise crops throughout the coldest of winters. Building on the techniques that hundreds of thousands of farmers and gardeners adopted from The New Organic Grower and Four-Season Harvest, this new book focuses on growing produce of unparalleled freshness and quality in customized unheated or, in some cases, minimally heated, movable plastic greenhouses. Coleman offers clear, concise details on greenhouse construction and maintenance, planting schedules, crop management, harvesting practices, and even marketing methods in this complete, meticulous, and illustrated guide. Readers have access to all the techniques that have proven to produce higher-quality crops on Coleman s own farm. His painstaking research and experimentation with more than 30 different crops will be valuable to small farmers, homesteaders, and experienced home gardeners who seek to expand their production seasons. A passionate advocate for the revival of small-scale sustainable farming, Coleman provides a practical model for supplying fresh, locally grown produce during the winter season, even in climates where conventional wisdom says it just can t be done.
"I just finished picking my first carrots, beets, and radishes from my new 'cold house' in Bedford, New York. It is so rewarding to harvest fresh vegetables and salads in the middle of winter and I grow them following the techniques of Eliot Coleman. I have been a devotee of Eliot's for years, fully agreeing with his methods for growing in winter, spring, summer, and fall, tasty, nutritious produce with a minimum consumption of fossil fuels. Congratulations on another volume of useful, practical, sensible, and enlightening information for the home gardener."--Martha Stewart
"Eliot Coleman is widely recognized as the 'master' of the master gardeners. His new book, The Winter Harvest Handbook--which tells us how to produce local food even in winter in cold climates like Maine, without a lot of energy--now joins his other delightful books as another lovely read, packed with powerful and practical ideas that every gardener will treasure."--Frederick Kirschenmann, Distinguished Fellow, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and President of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture
So my greens made it through the worst of winter (I hope) and have really started to kick in growing. They went on hold (stopped growing) from around Thanksgiving to mid-January when we had less than 10 hours of daylight. But since then the daylight hours keep increasing daily which is a signal for the plants to grow again in earnest. In case you are wondering when I planted all this, I planted the carrots, arugula and spinach last September inside the greenhouse, and the red and green lettuces I started from seed under grow lights inside my house on January 2nd and then were put out in the greenhouse in early February.
Some cold-hardy plants planted inside a cold frame, low tunnel or hoop house can tolerate a hard freeze at night, provided they are allowed to thaw during the day. The plants must be completely thawed before you harvest them. In addition, put some winter row cover over seedlings at night to give them an additional 4-6°F protection even though they are already in a cold frame, etc. Remove the row cover on days when it is above freezing. Watering is necessary to get crops started, but they will generally need very little water during the winter season-early spring once established.
Growing A Greener World is a national gardening series on Public Television that features organic gardening, green living and farm to table cooking. Each episode focuses on compelling and inspirational people making a difference through gardening. This gardening series covers everything from edible gardening and sustainable agriculture to seasonal cooking and preserving the harvest....Books and other product links are affiliate links.
Here in the north, farmers and markets deal with an overwhelming abundance of both work and produce in the summer and resign to eating far-off produce and finding off-farm employment through the winter. The warming power of manure has been forgotten, along with the hardiness of young greens to spring back after frost and the ability of snow-cover to insulate the earth from freezing. The production value of our local soils has been ignored, not to mention the utility of our root cellars, which have great capacity to sustain life. As we learn to accept the ebbing, flowing patterns of the earth, we discover that winter is not a bleak lesson on abstinence or food miles, but rather, of candy-sweet carrots hibernating under glowing glass orbs and billowing plastic tunnels. The simple success of a winter carrot is a sign that moving into the future is simple--a matter of reaping an agricultural heritage already sown and tapping into natural cycles, ancient and hospitable.
With The Winter Harvest Handbook, everyone can have access to organic farming pioneer Elliot Coleman's hard-won experience. Gardeners and farmers can use the innovative, highly successful methods Coleman describes in this comprehensive handbook to raise crops throughout the coldest of winters.
A passionate advocate for the revival of small-scale sustainable farming, Coleman provides a practical model for supplying fresh, locally grown produce during the winter season, even in climates where conventional wisdom says it \"just can't be done.\"
A passionate advocate for the revival of small-scale sustainable farming, Coleman provides a practical model for supplying fresh, locally grown produce during the winter season, even in climates where conventional wisdom says it "just can't be done."
Maintaining adequate residue to prevent wind and water erosion is often difficult in low-precipitation (less than 12 inch annual) winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)-fallow regions of the Pacific Northwest. This is especially true for spring-sown wheat, and for winter wheat in low-moisture conditions. In these situations, Russian thistle (Salsola iberica) can be a major weed and often produces more biomass than the crop it infests. In a 4-year study, we measured the effect of three tillage management treatments: i) traditional (tillage only); ii) minimum (herbicides and tillage), and iii); delayed minimum (herbicides and delayed tillage), on retention of above-ground wheat residue and dead Russian thistle plants or "skeletons" during the fallow cycle. Russian thistle infestation occurred two of the four years when winter wheat failed and was replaced by spring wheat. Traditional post-harvest tillage caused most Russian thistle skeletons to be wind blown from plots by late fall, but plants remained anchored in the soil when herbicides were used for post-harvest thistle control. Traditional primary spring tillage with a field cultivator or tandem disc further reduced surface cover compared to minimum tillage treatments. During two fallow cycles where Russian thistle infested the previous spring wheat crop, thistle skeletons on the soil surface averaged 280 and 40 vs. 1220 and 240 lb/acre in late fall and end of fallow in traditional tillage compared to minimum tillage treatments, respectively. Traditional tillage also reduced surface wheat residue compared to minimum tillage plots on all sampling dates. Russian thistle skeletons can be retained in place using conservation tillage during fallow, where they become an important source of surface cover to combat erosion in years when crop residues are extremely low.
Growers in low-precipitation dryland areas of the inland Pacific Northwest practice a wheat - fallow rotation where only one crop is grown every two years. Maintaining adequate surface residue for erosion control is often difficult. In low crop production years, Russian thistle is a major weed which can produce more dry matter by grain harvest than the wheat crop it infests. In a 4-year tillage management study, we consistently retained the most residue during fallow using minimum tillage practices compared to traditional tillage. In addition to wheat residue, we retained dead Russian thistle plants as an important source of surface cover using minimum tillage, whereas thistles were wind-blown from the field or buried with traditional tillage. Results show the value of conserving Russian thistle skeletons for erosion control in low crop residue situations when thistles are likely to be present in large amounts. 2b1af7f3a8