Seasonally inspired things to Learn, Make and Do

Journal

Growing winter salad

basket of chard

There is a wonderful book by the American grower Elliot Coleman about growing salad right through winter. In it he talks in great detail about how to protect crops and carry them right through the months of the year that there has traditionally been no fresh produce in colder parts of the globe.

The idea is to create a great walk-in growing fridge that has mature plants in it - plants that will not begin actively growing again until the Spring, but which can be harvested meantime. It is a plan that requires a level of precision - to get the plants to exactly the right point before the cold and dark comes and stops them in their tracks - and a knowledge of your local light levels.

In the middle of Scotland I am sowing and planting all my winter salads and vegetables this week and next - I gather that in more southern parts of the country you can do this through August, Coleman - whose latitude is equivalent to France plants into September.

I grow mainly in my polytunnel - which is a great luxury I know - but there will be hardier crops out in the ground, some shrouded by fleece, and others in pots tucked up near the house. I use fleece and net curtains overnight even in the tunnel - it is important to keep them off the crops with canes or hoops or they will burn leaves where they touch them on a frosty night.

This is what I shall be growing. The asterisks show things outside, our temperatures go down to -10 for significant periods.

  • Turnips
  • Salad onions
  • Kale *
  • Chard
  • Winter lettuce (Arctic King is amazing) *
  • Pak Choi
  • Rocket
  • Winter spinach
  • Winter radish
  • Claytonia
  • Mustards* - lots of different types as these work really well with winter salads
  • Mizuna*
  • Mibuna*
  • Broad beans *
  • Garlic* (planted August/September as light levels irrelevant)

I also have leeks, purple sprouting broccoli already in the ground which will stand outside all winter. Many of the cabbage family salad leaves (like mibuna and mustards) will manage down to -4 with a little protection so tend to be fine with us outside until December, but will not cope with a very cold January/February - That is long enough for it to be worth me growing some outside with a bit of protection.

All of these will grow in large pots - I really recommend the polystyrene boxes you can get from fishmongers and greengrocers, just punch holes in the bottom for drainage - if make a frame from metal coat hangers, you can simply peg fleece or other fabric over them to protect from frost. If you are only doing this overnight it doesn't matter if it lets light though - just remember to take it off again in the early morning.

Other emergency cold snap measures are a well wrapped small hot water bottle tucked under your protection - the more wrapping, the slower it will release its heat.

Tags: gardening

Comments: 0 (Add)

Snapdragon social

Engagement, connection, community, regeneration, celebration, magical, possibility.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Words matter.  Words matter so much. ⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Yesterday I walked around a new local community garden that I am to be involved in.  I walked the site with Lauren @herbal_homestead (who looks after @katgoldin ‘s market garden at the Gartur Farm School) who is the permaculture consultant for the project.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
The words at the top of this post were the words that were tumbling about as we walked along the stream that edges the plot and discussed the contours and what the potential is for this new space.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
I have missed those words a lot.⁠⠀
Elderberry vinegar, a brilliant natural immunity booster and treatment for sore throats, is steeping in my cupboard at the moment - the colour is so vibrant it is obvious that it MUST be good for you.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
It is one of the things you learn to make in the Simple Herbal Apothecary course in the Studio Club. ⁠⠀
⁠⠀
It is really funny how having a Pay What You Can option for membership has made me feel that I can talk about what you get in the Studio Club without feeling all 'exclusive' (I hate that word because, when you think about it, it actually means that some people are excluded and that we are fine with that).⁠⠀
⁠⠀
The Pay What You Can option has been really popular - second only to the Full Membership - which makes me very happy. ⁠⠀
⁠⠀
I've had a lot of emails from people who had been looking at joining the Studio Club for a while but couldn't justify the cost - because unemployment or illness or caring for others restricts their budget - but who have now been able to join.  So if that sounds like you the details are all on the front page of the website - snapdragonlife.com.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
⁠⠀
⁠⠀
⁠⠀
⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Time.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Yesterday I asked a question about luxury and the thing that came up again and again in answers was 'time'.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Time to just be.  Time to do things for ourselves. Time to be creative or read. Time to focus.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
It made me think - that if we see time is our greatest luxury, why do we squander it so?  I know I do.  I scroll.  I dither. I catch myself almost deliberately doing nonsensical things that waste time to the point that it completely disappears.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Give me an unexpectedly free evening and my natural tendency is to waste half of it deciding what I want to do MOST.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
(This is why I created the Plan your Dream Life workbook for myself - just so that I would have a list of things that I knew I had chosen to do when time appears - if you don't have this workbook already you can get it by signing up to my newsletter list Snapdragonlife.com.)⁠⠀
⁠⠀
What is your idea of luxury?⁠⠀
⁠⠀
I stumbled across a discussion about luxury on a post the other day. It was about whether you could crave luxury in your life if you were also set in “overthrowing the capitalist systems our world is based on”.⠀
⁠⠀
In some ways it was hilarious, and shows what a muddle we get into, but It really made me think about what I count as luxuries in my life  They certainly aren’t what the commenters on the original post defined as luxury - the fancy sports car, the designer brand names, expensive toiletries. ⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Rather, my idea of luxuries are things I want in my everyday life.  Proper coffee, clean sheets for the weekend, tomatoes still warm from the sun - perhaps most importantly, the luxury of time to do nothing more than stare upwards through bright leaves . . .⁠⠀
⁠⠀
What about you?⁠ what are your luxuries?⠀
⁠⠀
⁠⠀
⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Messy edges.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Pretty much everything in the House Garden and Studio Meadow will stand until Spring now.⁠ I will leave it alone. ⠀
⁠⠀
For in my head I'm not really growing teasels, I'm growing gold finches. 
Yesterday, as I headed down through the meadow to light the studio stove, were dozens feeeling atop the teasel heads.
It is the time of the year to embrace the beauty in decay.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
To look at the soil regenerating.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
The appreciate the beauty of a good compost heap -even when it is composting the cosmos that you had hoped would bloom for a couple of more weeks.
Yesterday the doors of the Studio Club opened up to new members again. ⠀
⠀
If you want to engage more with the natural world, live a more seasonal life, learn how to grow things, make things and also hear good news about inspirational people making a positive difference to the world - then this is the Club for you! ⠀
⠀
There are now three ways of becoming a member - a Full Membership which includes physical products, a Digital Membership and a Pay What You Can Membership. You can find out more about them by clicking though my profile or at Snapdragonlife.com. ⠀
⠀
In less than 24 hours over half the Full Memberships sold out - so if you are thinking of signing up for one of those then I would do it sooner than later. ⠀
Nettles and docks and tansy and meadowsweet. ⁠⠀
Heather and willow and onion skins.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
The journey through plant colours this year is coming to fruition.  Out of frame is a striped jumper on my needles.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
I am hoping to have enough yarn to make something for a newly arrived baby - all the energy of the Scottish hills in something to wear.
snapdragon.life
FacebookTwitterPinterest

About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

 

Learn more about why here

Loading