A couple of days ago, I posted about the mild winter and the crops that unexpectedly overwintered in the field. Normally, we have to be tricky to keep biennials over the winter to produce seed. Today, I’ll talk about about one of those tricks – unheated tunnels.
We seed greens in September and then cover them with rowcover and an unheated tunnel in early November. Even though the winter temperatures can drop to -35C outside; in the tunnel, under the rowcover, it never goes beneath -9C. As long as we don’t lose the tunnel in a windstorm, winter hardy crops will hold till spring.
Whereas from December to February we try to keep the crop warm, these days we’re afraid they will overheat. We’ve removed the row cover and the tunnel doors are wide open to let the Spring breeze in.
Why don’t we go inside and see what we’ve got ….
Here are some crossed up Brassica winter greens. These are the product of a few years of winter growing. Every fall, we plant a number of different Brassica Rapa varieties side by side. I let the hardiest plants cross pollinate and then save the seed.
This winter green has a bit of Yukina and some Komatsuma in it … one of my favourites.
Vegetables aren’t the only thing thriving. In this corner … a wack of cold season weeds. Can you see the chicory trying to reach out over the competition???
A bit of weeding and that chicory has a little breathing room.
On the right is a bin of weeds and culled plants – this would make any fat little pig squeal with delight.
On the left is a bin of rapini like flower shoots – great fried up in butter with garlic and mushrooms.
We will probably be removing the plastic in the next 7-10 days before the plants explode in a burst of growth. We will then move the tunnel for some spring and summer vegetables.
Now all we need are some pollinators!