With chilly temperatures and shortened hours of daylight, Northwest gardeners are taking a much-deserved winter’s rest. Cover crops have been sown, leaf mulch has been spread, and the gardeners are resting and remembering the year’s harvest.
While much of Lettuce Link’s Giving Garden at Marra Farm has been “tucked to bed,” we are still hard at work tending 10 newly planted beds for winter growing! Garlic, spinach, chard, fava beans, bok choy, radishes, and carrots will grow slowly but surely throughout the winter months and help usher in the new season with an early spring harvest.
In November we set up hoop houses over the delicate crops to shield the small sprouts from bitter winter winds and freezing temperatures. We hope that the plants, snugly tucked in under these portable greenhouses, will make it until March.
Our preparations for our long winter’s nap were no small task. The water to the whole farm is shut off to avoid freezing pipes, requiring resourceful and creative solutions to nourish the fledgling plants. Thanks to the help of South Park resident and grower, Irene, we set up a gravity-fed water barrel system to collect and distribute water. As a member of the Marra Farm Chicken Cooperative, Irene also helped set up a winterized water system for the coop.
Winter is also a time for preparation. Even though Marra Farm doesn’t appear to be very active, we are using the respite from the busyness to organize the sheds, maintain and clean the tools, order seeds, and plan for the 2014 growing season. Beyond preparing farm operations, we are planning for community events in South Park in the upcoming year. We are excited for the possibilities in 2014 and hope you’ll stay tuned for updates on opportunities to join us!