I like to think of winter growing in terms of a pyramid. The higher up you go on the pyramid, the more protection you are providing to your crops. The deeper into winter you go, and/or the less cold-hardy the crop, the higher you need to go on the pyramid. This year, we are making an effort to harvest as much as we can from lower on the pyramid in order to save our peak for later in the winter. The lowest step on the pyramid can be…No protection at all! We have been harvesting kale directly from the field, and the kale for this week’s share will still be from the field. We’ve talked to growers who harvested outdoor kale into January even last year’s Polar Vortex. We wanted to do that, but we didn’t plant enough! Not to worry, though, we have 1200 row feet of kale in our caterpillar tunnel.
This year, we have a new low step on our pyramid. We are putting in some “low tunnels;”little mini-greenhouses which you may have noticed as you drive by on Pine Street. We spent some time sourcing the materials, so they didn’t go up as early as I would have liked. I think they may be especially useful for extending the season on lettuce, arugula, and spinach from the field in late fall. But we have put them up over our fall-planted carrots. These were seeded in late October, and we expect them to germinate over the winter and be ready to harvest in May. We also have some kale, lettuce, arugula, and totsoi that we hope to harvest in March. Here are some pictures of the construction process.