Salad Days: Tucking Up For Winter
|Battening down the hatches ready for winter. I'm also going to line the sides of this coldframe with some polystyrene sheets I've found to keep things as warm as possible|
Today has significance at VP Gardens because it's the last day we have daylight for 10 hours until the middle of February next year. It means my salad plants won't be growing much over the next few months even if today's wintry temperature goes back to the unseasonal warmth we had earlier this week.
Salad leaves need both a decent temperature and sufficient light to grow. The experience we've had during the 52 Week Salad Challenge so far suggests for many of us light is the more restricting factor in winter, even though quite a few salad crops usually do well in shade during the summer. I suspect in summer temperature has the major part to play as lettuce don't like things to be too hot and tend to bolt if they are. In that situation the shade is enough to keep them feeling comfortable.
We've found that plants grown indoors in reasonable warmth still don't really get going during most of the winter months, hence our anecdotal thoughts that light levels have the edge in restricting growth at this time. My thanks to @GillyinAriege whose #saladchat conversation with @Bosleypatch this week reminded me of our shared experiences earlier this year.
As you can see I've brought my plants under cover. This protection will keep things a degree or two warmer than outside and help keep off damaging frosts. Elsewhere there's various cloches covering lettuces and other oriental leaves as well as another coldframe protecting rocket, fennel, land cress, lamb's lettuce and chervil. I've also potted up some mint and flat leaved parsley for windowsill grown supplies and my sowings of pea shoots have recommenced.
Unlike the past few months these supplies won't keep us in our 3-4 salads per week. I reckon I need a patch about four times the size I'm using to do that over the winter months.These coldframe/ cloche grown plants, plus various windowsill supplies and the odd bit of foraging should see us enjoying at least one weekly home grown salad for the next few months.
Not everyone has 10 hours of daylight today, nor good temperatures for growing. To work out your local light and temperature averages for growing outdoors, have a look at my post on What's the Weather for Salad?
NB don't forget the clocks go back here in the UK at 2am on Sunday morning.
Mr Linky is now open for this month's contributions. Many thanks for your posts and those you've provided previously. NB when entering your link, enter the URL of your blog post, rather than your blog, so we can still find out what you've been up to salad-wise after you've published further posts.