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Blogging the Four Season Garden

February 5, 2011

So, I’ve been wanting to document our garden for sometime. For one thing, we’ve got a lot going on. We’re learning a lot — some of it pretty cool and surprising, like that we can really grow greens all winter long, and they are wonderful! (Neither of us wants to eat salads out anymore.) And folks keep asking us about the cold frames and what we grow in them.

But mostly, I’ve been surprised by how gorgeous the food we’re growing is. I’ve been almost absurdly pleased and proud of it, and I’ve been wanting to take pictures of it. (I keep saying that having the plants is like having pets, except they don’t get into too much trouble when I’m not looking at them — except in the summer, that is.)

The final impetus was that we got iphones — Paul first, then me. I wasn’t sure I really wanted to join the iphone world, but it does mean we have a decent camera in our pockets all the time now. So when Paul planted peas in the snow two weeks ago, I couldn’t resist starting to take pictures. (The peas still haven’t done anything visible yet, but Paul’s soaking the next batch, and we’ll probably put them in the ground tomorrow.)

So, here’s the scoop on the garden…Paul and my stepfather, Dave Ellison, built the first cold frames in September 2010, following Eliot Coleman’s designs. (Paul added a couple more this year.) So, we’re midway through our second winter. We have a pretty small yard, and I’ve tried to grow way too much in it, as Paul will attest. Right now we have lettuce, arugula, spinach, mustard (two kinds), kale, mache, chard, some scallions, a few carrots and beets, and some broccoli that got ravaged by cabbage worms in the fall, but it’s still alive, and I’m hoping that maybe it will still makes florets in the spring. Oh, and the peas…

So, we’re planning to keep you posted on what we plant, how we grow it, and probably what we make from it, too.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Jeanette permalink
    February 6, 2011 11:16 am

    Thanks for writing a blog about your year round gardening in the Chesapeake bioregion.
    I look forward to reading all of your posts and hopefully getting some ideas for starting something similar for my family.

    • February 8, 2011 6:50 pm

      Hi Jeanette, great to see you here!!

      The cold frames would be an ever better bet for you down there. (You can see Paul’s thoughts today on the merits of summer vs winter gardens for those of us with warm, buggy summers.)

  2. Darrah permalink
    February 6, 2011 3:46 pm

    Very nice coldframes…roomy!

  3. Angelica permalink
    February 7, 2011 1:40 pm

    Great information! Is there a particular site you like to order your seeds from? Do you use manure for any of your plantings? If so, do you have an opinion of chicken vs cow?

    • February 8, 2011 6:58 pm

      Hi Angelica!

      I’ll do a seeds post sometime soon, but my go to favorite is Southern Exposure Seed Exchange ( which is regional for us down here. (But pretty much everything they have would also work for you.)

      We’ve gotten (well-rotted) horse manure from a horse farm nearby. This has been a bit of a problem because it has a lot of weed seeds in it, so I don’t recommend it unless it’s the best available free source. We’re trying to get our own composting up and running so we aren’t dependent on manure, but it’s proving trickier than expected. (More on that later, too, hopefully.)

  4. Dave Ellison permalink
    February 11, 2011 9:22 am

    Evie, You forgot to mention your great blueberry hedge. That is really a great idea and will increase production each year.

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