December Greenhouse Report

Five weeks ago on a spring-like November day I introduced you to our $100 greenhouse. This was what my garden looked like then:

Chard, Lettuce, Kale, Spinach and Cilantro in my winter greenhouse.

Since then most of our days have been in the 30’s and 40’s (Fahrenheit) with nights usually in the 20’s but occasionally dipping down into the mid-teens. Many mornings have seen my plants totally encased in frost but the sun quickly thaws them out and they continue to grow. This past Saturday it was 25 degrees outside at 10:30 in the morning, but inside the greenhouse it was over 60 degrees. This is what my garden looks like now:
My garden is flourishing in December!

From left to right I have Swiss Chard, Butter Lettuce, Russian Kale, and Spinach (barely showing) with a couple of plants of cilantro mixed in the front. While out in the garden this weekend, I popped a kale leaf into my mouth. WOW! The taste was incredibly sweet with all sorts of flavors mixed in! I could not believe the taste; never have I tasted such sweet, flavorful kale. It must be the cold weather that produces this. I took some to my husband and he had the same reaction. His exact words were, “Wow! I can feel my blood sugar rising!” (Because of the sweetness.) We wish I had planted much more kale. I picked almost half of the leaves you see in these pictures, mixing them with some of the Butter lettuce and some store-bought spinach and arugula for an incredible salad enjoyed by five of us.

Swiss Chard December Russian Kale December

Spinach sprouts

Spinach sprouts

Beet sprouts

Beet sprouts

About three weeks ago, near the end of November, I decided to experiment with sowing seeds in the greenhouse. To my delight both the spinach and the beet greens have come up. I don’t know how quickly they will grow but they are growing and healthy.

I plan to experiment with planting broccoli, cauliflower, and a few other plants this week to see how they will perform.  I have learned not to plant Butter lettuce in the future. The heads are too compact. They look healthy enough but when I picked them I discovered that moisture had collected deep in between the leaves, frozen during the cold nights, and then rotted those sections of leaves. About half of the head was ruined and had to be thrown out. The rest of the head was great, but I wouldn’t bother with planting them again.

Also, I had to recess a couple of small bowls of beer in the ground; it seems some slugs were able to survive buried in the mulch around the raised beds and would come out to feast when the temperature stayed above freezing at night.

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  1. Sue

    How lucky for me to share in that delicious kale with you!!!

  2. This is so exciting! It inspires me to want to try this myself next year, love seeing your success!

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