what’s up with this weather? i’ve actually seen a nice sunset, some sunshine, the snow is all melted, and it got up to 50 degrees the other day. this morning it’s back to being in the teens, with a windchill that makes it feel like it’s eight degrees. that’s more like it.
nice weather means only one thing to the winter gardener, it’s harvest time.
but first a check of the bees – if it’s nice weather, they are going to be out.
sure enough they were busy as, well you know. one hive looked quite a bit more active than the other. ma confirmed that one went into winter stronger than the other. with this warm weather, and plenty of activity, it means they will be eating lots of honey, which means we need to do some feeding next week.
but the reason for venturing outside was not to observe flying insects, it was to acquire my lunch. loosing one of the ends of the hoops i crawled under on my hands and knees.
despite the extremely cold weather in previous weeks, and collapsing hoops everything looked pretty good.
winter gardening requires careful selection of crops. there are several crops that do well in winter; arugula, mache, some lettuces, but the real star of the winter garden is the humble spinach. this is spinach sprouting under the hoops, ma planted it in october before she put the cover over the hoops. in winter simple spinach makes a transformation and becomes extremely sweet and makes some of the most amazing salads.
the lettuce is doing well also, though it’s starting to look more and more beat up each time i sneak under the hoops. since i didn’t think it would hold much longer, i harvested it especially hard.
minutinia also does well this time of year. i especially enjoy the delicate flavor of minutinia paired with a citrus flavored salad dressing and some course ground salt.
adding color to salad mixes in the winter can often be a challenge, as even the darkest red lettuces tend to be more muted under low light conditions.
adding beet greens is my go to solution. they develop even more deep red color than they do during the summer. the leaves tend to stay small, and most folks don’t even know that they are beet greens.
of course a salad can’t just be greens? actually i often enjoy just greens, but any addition is always welcome.
hakurei turnips! confession – i’m really not a fan of turnips. i’ll eat them, i certainly won’t turn up my nose at them, but the normal summer purple top turnip just don’t do it for me. the hakurei turnip is where it’s at. a little bigger than a radish, and they are about as sweet and tasty as any root vegetable. i eat them like a i do an apple, and i’ve shocked many a turnip hater by feeding them a bite of hakurei.
winter salad mixes take more time to process, since they have more damaged and dead leaves that would look nasty in your bowl.
i shared my new years day meal with good friends and was happy to be able to provide a lovely salad. we still have some left in the fridge to eat over the next few days. fresh home-grown salad greens seems like a great way to start the new year.