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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Kale House

When the garden found itself in the strong grip of autumn, I realized that there was more kale growing than I could dehydrate and freeze before plummeting winter temperatures would kill the plants. I decided at the last minute to build a house around my kale.

The plants already had a single slab-wood frame around them, from last year's early planting when I covered these frames to make low profile greenhouses. (You can see the beginnings of this frame in the Vegetable Jail Season Extension and Life within the bed covers posts from last March.) At this point, however, the "dwarf" curly leafed kale had clearly outgrown its original cold frame.

Fast forward a few months to today, and the earth has tilted away from the sun, making the world white. (This photo is taken from the same angle as the photo above it.) I learned a thing or two about snow load this winter -- for looking so fluffy, that white stuff is really heavy! 

This is the temporary entrance to the kale house. I ran out of time before winter set in, and was only able to partially complete the structure. The good thing about a makeshift door is that at least I can open it, and it isn't frozen shut like some of my other, better-built beds! (There is no prying them open, now...)

Despite the setbacks of a deep freeze before the roof was on, and roof failure after the snow came, I crawled in there today to find green plants!

Lovelies! A little worse for wear, but definitely hanging in there.

One of the more difficult things about a winter garden is remembering to water it. In this photo you see snow that came in when the roof failed. However, in places where the soil is exposed and has been cut off from all precipitation, it is remarkably dried out. I carried warm water in jugs down to the garden today and gave everybody a little drink.

When spring comes, these plants will be ready to make a comeback. Along with the Swiss chard inside the tipi greenhouse, they will be the first to produce. And since we are now locked out of the carrot beds due to thick ice and icy snow on the lids, it looks like we will harvest carrots in early spring, too!