…or in this case, a few seeds.
Being that we bought our home in late summer, and as busy as we were…there was really no time for gardening. So when we finally got around to the idea we were way behind.
It was early October and I had just listened to a few interesting podcasts about winter gardens. I figured, hey we’ve got a greenhouse, it should be no problem !The people on the podcasts sure made it sound easy anyway.
So after tending to some miscellaneous tasks like pruning and tying up our raspberry bushes which were out of control, I set my mind on the greenhouse.
Its a nice permanent structure, which seems to have doubled as a chicken coop in previous years. Something it may become again, if this greenhouse thing is a total failure. It needed some serious cleaning, as it had become a home for some serious weeds and vines. But, before we knew it, it was nice and clean and ready to go.
We got some seeds, some planting soil, on-site compost soil, some planters, and got to work. We planted broccoli, swiss chard, spinach, green onions, and red lettuce. We didn’t really conserve many seeds and pored them in pretty generously, expecting to just thin them out later.
A few weeks went by and things were looking great. Everything had sprouted nicely and seemed to be doing well. Of course I was really proud of my great accomplishment. It wasn’t really until mid November when I started to realize things were not happening as they were suppose to. And that maybe it wasn’t just “set it and forget it” like those gardening guys made it sound. Hmmm maybe they were assuming a certain level of fundamental proficiency in gardening from their listeners. Yeah, they probably were.
Here I am In late November and not much has changed. It turns out I planted the broccoli too deep in a large rubbermade container. They got really really long and stringy. What I guess is called “leggy”. They were totally flopped over. I tried some damage control measures such as cutting the sides of the container off to increase the sunlight, and added more soil to prop them up. But really they have not progressed very much since that point. And its been close to two weeks.
Fine, I will accept that our bounty of fresh broccoli all winter is not going to happen. Well at least the chard is doing well.
Or, WAS doing well. It really was looking good for a while. But then suddenly they stopped growing and started flopping over. They remain looking mediocre and sort of limp for the most part. I though it was a matter of poor air circulation that was keeping the soil too damp, so I started opening the greenhouse doors as much as possible during the days. It does not seem to be helping.
The soil remains damp for a long time and the planters may not be draining well. A quick google search leads me to the problem known as “damping off”. It sounds like once it starts its hard if not impossible to stop. I will be trying a few recommended home remedies, but don’t have high hopes.
As far as the other veggies….the lettuce and spinach seem to be doing ok, although growing slowly. Which I expect due to the decreased sunlight and temperature of the season. The green onions took forever to show any action. Now I’ve got a bunch of long stringy things in those pots, but think they are probably just weeds. I’m going to leave them alone and see what happens.
I cant say I haven’t learned a few things about winter gardening !