Winter Growing Advice from Farm to Fork

Winter gardening can either become your worst enemy, or your tastiest season for growing. During the cold, harsh temperatures, we must be especially careful of our crops and their warmth. During what some call the “Persephone Period”, the day is less than 10 hours light, and the plants should be at least 75% mature by this time. Also by this point, we could consider putting up “caterpillar tunnels” for our outside crops that need extra warmth, such as the carrots which benefit from having an aesthetically pleasing top so they appear fresher. At Farm to Fork, we used row covers on outside beds until we stopped growing outside in late November. Another consideration to keep the plants toasty would be an extra layer of row cover or two inside the greenhouse. These covers could either be kept in place, or moved on warmer days to prevent too much moisture inside the hoop house which could lead to diseases such as Botrytis and powdery mildew.  This year at Cornucopia, we have dealt with the cold by strictly growing inside the hoophouse. Having a dependable air circulation system can also help prevent said diseases. So far, we haven’t installed an air circulation system which began to affect our spinach, presumably from lack of air movement. Overall, there is much to be considered at the farm with maintaining a steady temperature and adequate amount of crops.


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