|Hoop house construction at the Greenside Out Garden.|
Yet even in cold Northeastern climates, the onset of winter does not have to mean the end of all fresh produce. There are several techniques for growing food during this chilly time of year. At the Greenside Out Garden, we built hoop houses (also known as low tunnels) in which we are growing arugula (that tastes delicious right now!), and we have two cold frames with kale.
|Hoop house construction earlier this season.|
All sorts of greens can be grown in the hoop house. Mustard greens, including arugula, can be harvested in the fall and then will grow back again in the spring. Other more cold-tolerant greens, such as kale, collards, and spinach, can be harvested throughout the winter.
There are many online resources for building hoop houses. The following how-to guide is one example: http://www.backyardgardening.net/article/raised-bed-hoop-house/ As you see, there is no one way to construct a hoop house (here the hoops are secured with pipe clips, whereas we inserted the hoops into wider tubes that were inserted into the soil). This article also gives suggestions for how to secure the plastic to the hoops.
There are many other techniques for extending the season.
For more in-depth information check out Four Season Harvest and The Winter Harvest Handbook by Eliot Coleman.
- Marie Benkley, Garden Coordinator