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Discussion Starter #1
Can I get some insight?<br><br>
All the books I've been reading have been geared towards more temperate climates with multiple growing seasons. My farm will be in zone 4b or 5a which has a "hard" winter - no way I could store carrots in the ground, they'd be frozen solid and covered with three feet of snow!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
In attempting to be self sufficient, am I setting myself up to eating preserved food half the year? I can't fathom a world where fresh broccoli is only consumed in August! I am planning a greenhouse, so depending on the size I can grow some food throughout the winter, but that is a large investment. Aside from that I need some more appropriate resources to learn how to extend the season outdoors and how to manage the beds when I can't grow two separate crops one after the other in the same year.<br><br>
any links or book recommendations? TIA!
 

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I live in Iowa and we have pretty cold winters here and you are right- it is impossible to do alot of those things. Preserve or perish I guess. On thing that you have to consider is how our bodies and minds have become accustomed to all of the modern convieniences with food. We don't know what to eat in what season. As for the broccoli- you should be able to still harvest it down to 18 degrees F. As with cabbage and cauliflower (and maybe kale too). Spinach can take the cool too. BTW- the more you foliage feed your garden the colder they can take it in the fall. You just have to raise the Brix level and it should give you a good 4 degrees (of course this won't make one bit of difference come January- but stretches it a few days!). As for the greenhouse- they are terribly expensive to heat (i have a fairly large one)- I am going to plant aquariums in my picture window this winter for my cold crops. HTH and GL!
 

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We're 5b and in the winter here our garden is regularly hidden by a 4-6' (or higher) snow drift. We preserve, can, dehydrate and freeze.
 

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There is a book that I saw once called "Four Season Harvest" or similar to that, written by a man in Maine, specifically for gardening year round in a cold climate, and I think it was about actually getting fresh veggies during the winter, but I can't be sure. I glanced at it but I live in Seattle where it does not get very cold in winter, so I did not need it. Look it up online, I am sure you will find it.
 

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As PP referenced, Eliot Coleman's books are a good source if info. I suspect cold frames of some sort will be a more economic investment in extending your harvest, both earlier in spring & later in fall, than a greenhouse (not that you can't have both!) <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> . I'm all research & no putting into practice yet, but I'm zone 4 & am on the road to greater self-sufficiency as well, so I'm interested in hearing what others have learned.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks! will look into Eliot Coleman! Maine is quite nearby, actually, so it should be very valid.<br><br>
Totally having coldframes as well, but I WILL have a lemon tree and I'm so looking forward to fresh herbs during a snowstorm from the greenhouse!
 

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Great thread. I sometimes feel like the only one who can't grow greens in the dead of winter. I've recently been researching cold-hardy fruit trees for our zone 3 acreage. Good nurseries will often be able to tell you how well the different varieties will keep in storage. (I suspect we'll be growing a lot of apples!)<br><br>
There are also some really great root cellaring books. I bought <a href="http://www.amazon.ca/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.ca%2FRoot-Cellaring-Natural-Storage-Vegetables%2Fdp%2F0882667033%2Fref%3Dpd_bowtega_1%2F702-3876399-2086433%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dbooks%26qid%3D1185809144%26sr%3D1-1" target="_blank">this one</a> for my mom recently. She is a zone 2-3 farmer, who stores a lot of food, and she said it was excellent. Over the last couple of years I've been really turned on to lacto-fermenting (like making sauerkraut, kimchi, brined vegetables, etc.)- there is a great book called Wild Fermentation that I highly recommend if this method is of any interest to you. (Even if it's not, it will totally change your mind!) Fermented veggies preserves all of the vitamins, plus adds the bonus of healthy microflora.<br><br>
I've tried window boxes for some fresh winter food, but besides garlic- and onion-tops, we just don't have enough hours of sunlight in the winter.
 

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The only gardening I do in the winter months is sprouts and greens & herbs in window boxes.<br><br>
We don't yet have a greenhouse, but it's definitely in our plans for when we do move out into the country and have some acreage!<br><br>
Growing up in the UP of Michigan and now living in Wisconsin, it was just so ordinary to expect to eat frozen, preserved, or dehydrated veggies and fruits during the winter months.<br><br>
It sure would be nice to have home-grown fruits and veggies during February, though! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>KariM</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8765424"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">The only gardening I do in the winter months is sprouts and greens & herbs in window boxes.<br></div>
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Oh I'm glad you mentioned sprouts! I totally forgot about them!
 

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I'm in Fort Saint James BC wich I think is zone 2a. So very cold and very short season. We can't grow anything outside from October to April most years. Last winter was even longer. A cold room or root celler is very valuable for root crops. We store carrots, beets ect in clean slightly damp sand. I burry them in layers so the roots are not touching. They will often continue to produce greens from the tops all winter. I do a lot of sprouting for fresh greens in the winter too. Cold frames help extend the season too but I like hot beds best. Basically you dig a treanch in the fall about 2 feet deep and as big as you want your bed to be (you do this in the fall because you won't be able to dig when the ground is frozen. You will need to bring the soil from the trench inside somewhere so it doesn't freez) In late februrary or early march, you fill the trench with fresh manuer and straw or leaves in layers like your building a compost pile. Put the soil from the trench on top and cover with a cold frame or plastic. About 2 weeks later the manure composting action will be generating quite a bit of heat. Plant into the soil. You may still need to cover your crop at night to protect from frost but you can plant out heat loving crops like squash, beans and corn much earlier than you other wise could. I usually do mine as a 3 sisters bed. By the time the roots reach the manure, it's composted enough that they can make use of the rich nutriants.<br><br>
This year I'm thinking of starting my hot bed even earlier and trying some colder crops in it.<br><br>
My favorite book right now for northern gardening is "The Harrowsmith Northern Gardener" but I'm not sure if it's in print anymore.
 
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