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Monday, November 15, 2010

Greens in the hoophouse

Although everything in the hoophouse is not quite as big as I would like it to be at this time, I am still happy that they are at the size they are. What do I have growing in there you may wonder? Well I have 3 different varieties of kale, swiss chard (different colors), dwarf pak choi, peppergrass, collards, and more.

Here are some pictures of the different varieties of kale. They are not full size but are instead at baby size which is perfect for salads and eating without any need of cooking.
Baby Red Russian Kale

Baby Dinosaur Kale

Baby Extra Dwarf Blue Scotch Kale

Baby Collard Greens

Can you guess what this next picture is?
This is actually a picture of tons and tons of very cute little Extra Dwarf Pac Choi. Believe it or not this is actually the size that they are suppose to get when ready to pick. Although I have not yet cooked with them this year, every time I go into the hoophouse I grab myself one of these cute little things and pop it in my mouth. They sure do have a lot of flavor for such little things. I am actually very impressed with how they are doing and taste during this cold weather. I will definitely have to grow many more varieties of pac choi next year for fall. I have grown this variety before in the spring, but if you do not harvest it right away it will go to seed, even if it is not super hot out yet. But now in the fall these little guys have been picking size for at least a couple of weeks already and show now sign of going to seed.

Extra Dwarf Pac Choi
Aren't they cute?

Some Baby Swiss Chard
I also have other colors growing in the hoophouse also but did not take any pictures of them.

Peppercress has a very mild spicy flavor, no where near a strong as arugula or even mustard greens. Great to add a little bit of different flavor to a salad.


I wish my lettuce would get growing, but I have little hope that I will be picking lettuce this year, although you never know. If it does not get any larger, I am worried it will all be wasted. If only I had gotten it in the ground just a week sooner. I probably could be eating a nice salad with lettuce right now. Oh well, that is what I get for getting behind. I just may have to wait until spring, we will see what happens.

The problem with growing in the fall is not just the temps but the shortage of day light or sunlight at all. When the days start getting shorter the plants slow down. The trick is to get everything to full size before it gets too cold, because when it gets real cold the plants just kind of go dormant and just sit there. You can still harvest them but they will not grow right back like they would during warmer weather.

Speaking of the winter gets me thinking of something I have to add to my to do list. That is get the hoophouse more ready for winter by adding more supports inside the hoophouse. Since this will be our first winter with our large hoop house I am not sure how much snow it can handle. I hope it survives. If if does survive I will have to post directions for how we built it, but I want to see just how tough it is first. One thing I know for sure is it is going to be exhausting going out there all the time to brush off the snow, something tells me I am going to have to make my way out there every hour or at least every couple of hours during bad snowstorms. Lets hope we do not have a bad winter. Funny because I was just saying the other day that I hope we get a really bad snowstorm so I can test out my truck (this will be my first winter with my truck). Great I am going to be sorry for making that wish, when I do not have any time to drive my truck around in the snow since I will be in my hoop house brushing off snow, trying not to get buried alive!

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