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Growing Lettuce in Winter

A Gardening Life – January 5

This afternoon we put on hats and coats and went up to the shed to pick lettuce for dinner. Our shed has windows and plexi-panels on the southern side and roof. A wall of clay pots on the north side act as heat sinks and that half of the shed is insulated. This fall we moved several Smart Pots from the garden, where they’d held leeks, eggplant, and potatoes all summer, into plastic bins and placed them in this part of the shed.

If we filled the entire bench with such pots we could undoubtedly grow enough salad greens to supply our table all winter. Maybe someday we’ll do this. In the meantime it’s enough to have a once-a-week harvest as we cut the largest, oldest leaves of lettuce and let the rest continue to grow. One of the blessings of this time of year is being able to choose not to do so much vegetable gardening.

Tomorrow I’ll sow more lettuce seeds in the Smart Pot’s bare spots, but the bench will need to be cleared by the end of March so that we can begin to germinate seeds for summer plantings. Sometimes it’s good to go all out and do something in a big way…but in other instances restraint is just as satisfying.

We forgot to take a basket up to the shed so we grabbed a flower pot off the wall to hold our harvest.

Sharing The Wealth

  • We have the Smart Pots filled with compost-amended garden soil because that’s what we used for growing veggies in these containers all summer. You could use a potting soil instead.
  • In such cold weather the water doesn’t evaporate from the soil very quickly and the plants aren’t growing rapidly so you don’t need to water very often. This is a good thing because we don’t have running water in this shed – all water must be carried from the house at this time of year.
  • Our shed is solar heated and on the coldest nights (temps below 25) it gets down to freezing inside. Our records show, however, that from mid-February on the temperatures in the shed don’t go below 32.
  • Because it’s so cool we don’t have aphids, white fly or other insect pests in the shed.

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