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Taking on 4 Season Gardening

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Taking on 4 Season Gardening

Post  ndgarden on 10/31/2010, 5:00 pm

I'm new at Sq Ft Gardening, planted my first garden Sept 1, after starting fall plants earlier in August. I have planted lettuce, spinach, kale, chard, and broccoli. My broccoli didn't make it for some reason, but the others are doing well.

If my images turned out ok:

My outdoor gardens (2, 4x8) are doing well. They survived a blizzard last week, had 60 mph winds, and I was out in 30 degrees at midnight one night securing my plastic (again), now its solid (6mil roofing plastic from Lowes, by the way).

My indoor garden is my expensive one due to the costs of heating my garage (which I do anyway, but I'm keeping it 60 instead of 50 this year) and the T5 flourescent lights, they are very expensive. You may also see the seed flat with a few herbs I'm starting there as well.

I'll keep all posted on my progress, and I'm sure I'll have questions!

John




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Re: Taking on 4 Season Gardening

Post  ndgarden on 10/31/2010, 5:02 pm

https://i22.servimg.com/u/f22/15/82/38/98/outdoo10.jpg

https://i22.servimg.com/u/f22/15/82/38/98/indoor10.jpg

Does this work?


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Re: Taking on 4 Season Gardening

Post  Old Hippie on 10/31/2010, 5:37 pm

How absolutely awesome!!

I am in central BC and my goal is to eventually have 4 season garden as well. You get the crazy blizzards like we did in Manitoba. We get a lot of snow but not the wind that you do there. Other than that our zones are pretty similar. I am concerned that the snow loads here would collapse the hoop house but it might be worth a try. How heavy is the plastic that you use? How do you fasten it down and how do you access your plants when you want to work on them? Does it freeze solid under your hoop house?

What are you growing in your gardens? Are your grow lights LED ones?

Hope you don't mind all the questions.

GK

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Re: Taking on 4 Season Gardening

Post  Furbalsmom on 10/31/2010, 9:12 pm

John,
The links to your pictures worked great. Thank you for showing us your hoop house and garage garden.

I remember Nebraska winters, winds and blizzards and can't imagine trying to keep a hoop house up and warm enough to protect your lettuces. I know the spinach, kale and chard are a little more resistant to cold, but what an accomplishment! lots o

Congratulations and please keep us posted on your progress.

The Nebraska weather is what caused us to retire in Coastal Oregon. happy turtle

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Re: Taking on 4 Season Gardening

Post  quiltbea on 10/31/2010, 11:42 pm

Lucky you.
I just got the book 'Four-Season Harvest' by Eliot Coleman from the library. He gardens in Maine like I do so I'm anxious to see how he manages getting crops all 4 seasons.
I'm sure your way is the way to go.
I think he's going to refer to cold-frames and cold-weather crops more than building a greenhouse or growing in a garage.
I'd love to have a greenhouse.
I envy you right now.
Good luck and keep us posted.

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Winter garden newbie

Post  ander217 on 11/1/2010, 7:39 am

Thanks so much for posting your photos. I'm just starting to learn about winter gardening and I have much to learn. (I've wintered over turnips and greens in my garden many times, but I've never had success with growing new crops in winter.)

Here's my first newbie question: if you are growing hardy crops such as lettuce and spinach in your garage, why does it matter whether your garage is kept at 50 or 60 degrees? Don't they grow at either temp?

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Re: Taking on 4 Season Gardening

Post  Old Hippie on 11/1/2010, 11:38 am

I was wondering the same thing. Do you use bottom heat of any kind?

GK

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Re: Taking on 4 Season Gardening

Post  ndgarden on 11/2/2010, 11:02 am

Been really busy, I'll try to hit all the questions.

Bottom heat only for the seed flat.

Figure higher temp is better for now, my outside plants seemed to grow slowly when it was only in the 50's for a high during the day.

Kale, Spinach, Lettuce, chard in both gardens. Herbs are inside.

Lights are made by Hydrofarm, T5, 6 bulb flourescents, 340 watts per light, running about 13 hours per day at this point.

Outside garden. Until the big wind blizzard, I only had the ends clipped. When the big winds hit, I used 2x4's to "clamp" the plastic down.

Plastic - 6mil clear roofing plastic from Lowes. I don't know the light transmission, I think I may buy actual greenhouse plastic in the future, because I'll need to keep the garden covered full time pretty soon.

Other questions?

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Re: Taking on 4 Season Gardening

Post  miinva on 11/2/2010, 2:45 pm

In Winter Harvest Handbook, Eliot Coleman talks about the fact that his plants grow until about December, and then after that they just kind of idle in the ground instead of grow. It's a good read and I'm excited about trying it. I found green floating row cover-like material that I have over two of my SFG beds, and Sunday we bought a cold-frame kit from Lowe's. I put it together today, we'll see how it works Smile I'm going to plant chard in window boxes inside of it, since it isn't the size of any of my SFG beds.

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Re: Taking on 4 Season Gardening

Post  ndgarden on 11/2/2010, 4:30 pm

I have that book too, and was optimistic when I realized I'm not too far off in latitude from Maine. However, when I looked up average temp in the winter, I'm far colder. We see below zero for days.......wind chills far under that. If I keep my plants alive until Dec 1, that would be amazing. 64 degrees outside today, took the plastic off to get them some light.

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Re: Taking on 4 Season Gardening

Post  quiltbea on 11/2/2010, 4:48 pm

ndgarden......I'm in Maine and its only 44 today with 27 coming tonite.

Temps vary in lots of places.

I, too, have the book and I'm reading it to get some vital information on how to extend my harvests.

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Re: Taking on 4 Season Gardening

Post  ndgarden on 11/19/2010, 10:31 am

If you've been watching my other posts, I'm starting to have some issues: aphids, lettuce leaf discoloration, parsely not happy. Also, for getting 16 hours of "expensive growlight" light, and recent organic fish extract watering, I would expect much more growth than I'm getting. My Chard is staying at 2-3 leaves, only 3" high. Lettuce is producing quite a few leaves, but they're small.

Any thoughts?

John

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Re: Taking on 4 Season Gardening

Post  quiltbea on 11/19/2010, 11:40 am

I'm really amazed you're getting bug infestations with the cold season upon you. Your bugs must be super bugs. Sorry to hear that.

We had a bad rain storm the other nite with high winds suffered along the east coast. Well, my A-frame got knocked over and one of the poles snapped in two. I jerry-rigged it back together again for now. I need to get a replacement pole. Actually I'm thinking of taking it down for the winter since my carrots and garlic will make it thru the winter just fine without protection and the A-frame isn't needed.
I gave up on my lettuce. It just wasn't growing.
The parsnips are doing well underground in another bed and can only taste better with the colder it gets. The sugars are enhanced from the cold.

I hope you manage to get something from your efforts.
Next year I'll put in Mache/corn salad, arugula and some mizuna or claytonia that can take the cold better under the A-frame.
Good luck to you.

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Re: Taking on 4 Season Gardening

Post  ndgarden on 11/29/2010, 9:54 am

Just an update, the outdoor garden didn't survive the -10 temps last week.......and having trouble with pests and other issues inside - lighting? water? so we'll see how this goes.

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Re: Taking on 4 Season Gardening

Post  Odd Duck on 11/29/2010, 11:22 am

You might try this

http://www.rei.com/product/729006

I just did a quick google for "mosquito netting tent" and this was the first one to pop up. REI also has double wide for only $16.00. I found mine at my local army/navy surplus store for about this same price range. You could release the rest of your ladybugs inside the mosquito netting tent to contain them. Some of them are bound to be hungry!

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Re: Taking on 4 Season Gardening

Post  quiltbea on 11/29/2010, 1:51 pm

My jerry-rigged A-frame went over again. The split pole just wouldn't hold in place. I'll have to rig it better next spring.

I took it down since I need that replacement pole and will be satisfied with my garlic planted and my carrot seed planted for next spring for now. The parsnips will do well in this cold so that's not a problem. The lettuce wasn't growing anyway so I left that to become green manure next year.

Next year I want to get the A-frame up solid with braces at the footings and then I'll plant cold-weather crops liks Mache/corn salad, arugula, claytonia (whatever that is), and mizuna (don't know what that is either).
These are supposed to hold very well thru the cold weather under hoop houses so I'll try something.

Right now our days have been in the low to mid-30s and nites in the 20s so its a cold late fall for us. There don't seem to be any warm days in our forecast. We got a covering of snow on Thanksgiving nite and even tho it rained the next day, it didn't melt due to the cold. Today its finally about disappeared in the 30s sunshine.

Right now I'll be satisfied with planning next year's garden beds and making quilts to wile away the time.

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Re: Taking on 4 Season Gardening

Post  Lavender Debs on 12/1/2010, 8:48 am

And blogging..... you did mean to include blogging; yes? I love your blog.

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Re: Taking on 4 Season Gardening

Post  quiltbea on 12/1/2010, 12:02 pm

Yes......and blogging. Very Happy

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Re: Taking on 4 Season Gardening

Post  happyfrog on 12/4/2010, 11:31 am

wow i just LOVE your garage garden!!!! i would love more details though - how high is the bunk bed set up - how many inches from shelf to shelf?

what kind of lights are you using? flourescent i saw - but are they grow lights or just 'regular' lights? how many hours/day are you running them?

how do you deal with water dripping from top row to bottom row (with the light/electricity)?

i want to make a similar one for my basement. .. Smile

imitation is highest form of flattery! Smile

have you figured out a solution for the little flying critters?

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Re: Taking on 4 Season Gardening

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