ma has been busy preparing the winter garden for the last couple of weeks. Under straw mulch 7 different varieties of garlic have been planted. in a cold frame winter hardy greens such as mache have been planted. we have plenty of kale that should keep us in greens for another month and a half or so, then I usually lightly drape row cover over it for the harshest part of winter. come next spring it puts on brand new spring growth. This kale in the early spring is some of my favorite, sweet, tender and very much needed after a long winter. it doesn’t last long though, pretty soon it starts to set seed after which the taste begins to decline.
new for this year is the use of quick hoops. in august ma planted onions and leeks, which are looking pretty good. They are planted in two 30 inch wide beds with a 12 inch wide walk way between. then 10 foot lengths of electrical conduit are pushed into the ground, making a hoop that covers both beds. then row cover is attached over the top. as the weather gets worse we will cover the whole thing in plastic for the winter, and then reverse the process when it warms up. if everything goes right, and we will have the first onions and leeks in the motor city.
the idea of the quick hoops is pretty new to me. i’d seen low tunnels of this sort, and had used some, but is by far the simplest and cheapest way i’ve seen. this all comes from eliot coleman and his great books “the winter harvest handbook” i got it last spring when it came out, and then he came to the farm to give a presentation. he made everything seem so simple that we couldn’t help but try. i’m installing some quick hoops at work this week, but i’m a little concerned about how rocky the soil is, making installation a chore.