Fall garden still going strong

Remember how I planted a fall garden last August? I sowed lettuce, spinach, carrot and bunching onion seeds as an experiment to see how long they would provide fresh produce for us during the colder months.

Well, it has been a roaring success and I can't wait to tell you about it. This summer, I intend to write a column about this very subject in case you'd like to plant a fall garden as well, but here are a few details for the time being:

We harvested lettuce until the first week of December, then it was wiped out from our below-zero temperatures. At that time, I decided it was probably a dumb idea to plant carrots but it really was an experiment to see how they'd do. The 'Bordeaux' spinach was quite prolific and the onions were very slow to grow.

After more single-digit weather, it appeared that everything was toast so I didn't take the time to go out and check on it. Well, I had quite the surprise yesterday! The top photo shows the bed in our snowy garden.

I cleared off the snow from the top of the bed, lifted off the layer of clear plastic and the layer of floating row cover, and voila! I still have goodies to harvest. (see photo at right) The lettuce is still toast, which is OK, but the spinach is going great guns, as are the bunching onions which are about 8" tall now, and I could see the carrots were still growing. Amazing!

I picked about a half-pound of spinach for last night's dinner and it was fabulous. Wow, fresh spinach in late February!

If you're wondering about the wire that's covering the bed, it is a 4'x8' sheet of concrete-reinforcing wire. We bent down the long edges of the wire so it would fit on top of the raised bed. The purpose of the wire was to prevent the hoops from collapsing from the weight of the snow and squashing my veggie plants. It worked great. If you click on the photo, you can view a larger image and see what I'm talking about.

The bed could use a good weeding but the ground is frozen so it'd be hard to get the weed roots out. I'll have to wait a few weeks before tackling that project.

My husband Bill is talking about making sort of a mini hoophouse for our next fall and winter seasons -- one that will encompass two of our raised beds and that I will be able to stand up in. That's an exciting prospect so I'm hoping we can pull it off.

I'll let you know what happens with the carrots once the weather warms up a bit. But no matter what, I'm very pleased with my first attempt at growing a fall garden. To read my earlier blog post about this, click here.