Thursday, August 24, 2006

Fall plans

Babies! Aren't the cute? (Mesclun salad)

My goal is to grow and harvest things all year long. That sounds like a stretch; this is Michigan after all, and we're zone 6A here, which means it rarely gets below zero degrees F. But it can, and does about 2x a season. So it isn't a stretch so much as a challenge, in my mind.

Big plans are in the works for a greenhouse (actually, it will technically be a hoop house). It will be next to the chicken coop on the way to the garden, jutting out behind the ice house...way too technical, yes; let me assure you it is protected from the prevailing winds off Lake Michigan a mile away, and is situated to be in full sun almost all winter. I plan to get some good salad stuff a-growing in there by October.

There are root crops we can harvest well past first frost (around Oct. 20th) like carrots and parsnips, and things like leeks and kale actually sweeten up after they get chilled. Potatoes can stay in the ground for a while, too. Now, hopefully I can keep the chickens clueless about the greenhouse's contents...


Liz said...

We have plans for a hoophouse, too. A friend has one, and it's so fabulous going in to pick a salad in the depths of winter. Of course, it's a little colder here, but if Eliot Coleman can do 4-season gardening in Maine (and write a book about it), then I know we're in good company. :)

El said...

Hey Liz

Eliot Coleman is exactly whom I am taking my tips from regarding our little hothouse of fun. It's so fascinating: the hours of daylight being less in France than Maine, right? You ought to be able to grow, heck, anything in it! Anyway, it has given me the impetus to at least try it, if they could do it in blustery Maine.

Is that where you got the idea to have ducks?

Liz said...

Absoultely. I saw those bowling pins that he had, and I thought: what could be cute than a duck? (well, maybe a baby goat?) Friends of ours had some, and it cinched the deal. Too much personality in a small package!

We're *much* colder than Eliot's farm... he's right on the coast, which really moderates temps, but we're still going to give it a try. Right now we're in the process of trying to figure out where stuff should go: the hoophouse, the barn, the laundry carousel, the future solar panels. It's a lot to think about!

Wendy said...

Another Mainer, here, and fan of Eliot Coleman, as well. I'm in southern coastal Maine, where my zone is closer to what yours is in Michigan. I thought the same thing, if "he" can do it AND write a book about it, so can I :). We just found a 6'x 4' salvaged window that will become a cold frame for growing those winter veggies :). Life is good!