A January Look at the Garden, part 2

I already told you that the unprotected plants were more than living up to my expectations. Let’s take a look at the plants under the fabric row cover.

The spinach is clearly doing very well. There are a few scorched leaves from cold damage and maybe some disease. Overall, the spinach is a great benchmark for everything else.

The Red & Green Saladbowl lettuces are looking a little more zapped than the spinach, but there is still plenty of good lettuce that is harvestable.

The ‘Winter Density’ lettuce is looking even a little bit worse than the saladbowl lettuces. You can see some droopy leaves indicating some damage. The newer, interior leaves are still crisp and sweet.

The fava beans, while still alive, are looking pretty pitiful. They are still trying to grow a little bit, but I don’t know if they will ever be productive. At least they help out by fixing a little bit of nitrogen into the soil.

The leek seeds that I threw into an open space on a whim are looking really good. They hardly look like there’s been any cold weather at all. The seedlings are still pretty small and not growing very fast, but I think they will look great once spring comes!

This was a later planting of spinach, I think maybe the Oct. 1st planting? You can definitely tell the difference that 2-3 weeks makes in planting, as the top picture was the spinach planted on Sept. 15th. It’s a little small right now, but when the weather warms up it will grow well and be ready to harvest nice and early.

I’m not really sure what happened to this lettuce, but it isn’t doing as well as the earlier plantings of the same lettuces. The Elegance Greens mix that is in the left hand corner is also pretty well frozen.

I’ll leave you with a less depressing picture! The radicchio seedlings that I threw in for fun in early October are looking pretty good. They have a lot darker color than their older counterparts that are under the plastic row cover. It will be fun to see how fast these grow as spring comes and if we actually have anything to harvest.

That’s what’s under the fabric row cover! Either later this week or next week we’ll take a look at what’s growing (or not) under the plastic row cover.


About Rebecca

I'm a Horticulture Educator with Sedgwick County Extension, a branch of K-State Research and Extension, located in Wichita, KS. I teach about fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Posted on January 5, 2011, in Season Extension Gardens and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. How do you water the stuff under your row covers? I haven’t put the covers on my squares… kept waiting to put it on after some precipitation, and that never happened. I was figuring on planting some (more) kale and lettuce this month, but before I put the covers on thought I might put a simple irrigation system in (since I was so bad about watering once the covers were on). But won’t the lines just freeze solid?

    • Karen –

      Actually, I watered both the beds really well before I put the row covers on back in late November, and I haven’t watered since! We don’t use our irrigation system during the winter, so I would have to drag a hose out. The soil is pretty dry right now, but from what I’ve read, you don’t want to over-do it with water in the winter, because it will reduce the hardiness. I think the theory is something like this: less water concentrates the sugars in the plant leaves, which has a colder freezing point. More water in the plants means more freezing and cells exploding in cold weather. So keep your plants on the dry side. I don’t know if this is completely true, but I do know that I’ve lost plants after watering that survived much colder temperatures!

      So, at this point, I would probably wait for a nice warm day when we aren’t going to get below freezing over night, give them some water, then put the row covers on.

  2. It looks delicious!! I’m hungry for spring to arrive! Thumbing through the seed catalog’s today.

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