When I was a novice gardener I figured the growing season began and ended with our average frost dates. After my first year of actually growing I came to realize frost doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the garden. I was even more surprised to learn that in fact cold weather sometimes has the affect of improving the flavor profile of some crops. Spinach is a classic example, on a cold morning with a heavy frost or even a freeze you will find this plant frozen solid. Now return to that same plant a couple hours later when the day has warmed and you will find a vigorous healthy, green plant ready for eating. Amazing as spinach is with regards to how it can survive cold weather the more amazing part is the flavor. Crisp, sweet, crunchy and full of flavor. Compare your winter spinach with the same crop coming out of California and you will begin to discover the true benefits of eating local.
Now that I’m not exactly a novice gardener I have come to realize our growing season is so much longer then we think. I have learned to combine the right crops with the right environmental modifying techniques to begin to think about our local vegetable season as a year round endeavor. This year with the help of several unheated greenhouses I was able to start planting in the ground around mid February. Since this is my first time trying this I had a few nerve wracking nights as temperatures outside dipped into the single digits, but in the morning after the sun had returned the plants looked beautiful.
I hope you enjoy this spring share as much as I have been enjoying growing the greens. This late winter/early spring has been a constant reminder of why I love gardening. There is always something to learn, new techniques, experiments waiting to be tried. This work is a lifetime of discovery, of wonder, and delight. At the end of the day what I delight in most is all this hard work and discover leads to one thing. A belly full of the most scrumptious food a guy could imagine!