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Sowing winter hardy greens brings hope to lengthening days

Winter Greens for your cold frame or hoop house–these cold-hardy gems can be sown throughout the winter for late winter and early spring harvests!

 

NY Hardy Corn Salad
NY Hardy Corn Salad

Sowing Greens like NY Hardy Cornsalad, Miner’s lettuce (aka: Claytonia), Arugula, Asian greens, North Pole Lettuce, beet greens and spinach can happen throughout the winter. Fall sown crops are coming to maturity now, and it’s time to think of your late winter and early spring salads! If you have a cold frame, hoop house, sunny windowsill, or greenhouse, you can start sowing in the next few weeks. Most greens are happy to be direct seeded, and with a little love will begin to sprout slowly over a few weeks in a sheltered environment, even in fairly cold weather. To get the best out of your North Pole butterhead lettuce, it may be good to sow it and then transplant it into the growing area, since the heads will get to be a good 8-10 inches across.Cilantro is also especially cold hardy, and can be sown along with your winter greens.

For adventurous folks with good, sunny windows that catch the southern sun, some interesting winter houseplants are: carrots in deep pots, (these need thinning to size up but are very fun for kids!), radishes, snap or snow peas (peas need some creative support, we put a very branching stick or two into the pot so they can grow up the stick), beans –try bush beans like Black Valentine— planted in the next few days they’ll be up as a valentine greeting, bringing summer love into your wintertime. And last but definitely not least, cucumbers–try Shintokiwa for this– usually we’d plant two seeds per gallon pot and then count on tying up the plants along the window frame as they grow. The surprise with cucumbers is that the lovely yellow flowers are also vanilla scented!

Cucumbers growing in a southwest facing window in February-- these were sown in early December. If you sow in February, they should be at this stage at the middle of April.
Cucumbers growing in a southwest facing window in February– these were sown in early December. If you sow in February, they should be at this stage at the middle of April.