#WinterGrowingChallenge Update

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11 days after sowing my first seeds for shoots as part of my #WinterGrowingChallenge, I am still patiently waiting for those leafy-greens. I’m fairly lusting after a pea-shoot salad with my favorite homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing─maybe with a little crumbled feta. The idea makes my mouth water even now. There was one thing I overlooked however, amid my own enthusiasm for growing greens through the winter…

radish sprouts

Here are my radish shoots on day 11; getting closer to harvest!

I followed all of the instructions, just as I laid them out in my recent article: How to Grow Shoots for a Supply of Leafy Green Vegetables this Winter. I used Peter Burke’s “Year Round Indoor Salad Gardening” as a reference manual and followed his guidance through the whole process. I pre-moistened the soil, soaked my seeds, and on Tuesday, December 11th before I left for the Call Center at Johnny’s Selected Seeds I pressed my seeds into the soil and covered them with wet newspaper. I tucked the trays into a dresser drawer I’d freed up for the project, and then waited patiently.

There was one thing I neglected to take into consideration though. We’ve had a very mild autumn this year; the temperatures here in central Maine have been abnormally warm. Old Man Winter must have caught wind of my project though, and waited til I had sown those first seeds before moving into Maine with a vengeance. Earlier this week we received our first snow-storm and since Tuesday temps have been in the single digits; this is the coldest weather we’ve seen since March.

When I organized the Winter Growing Challenge I wasn’t thinking about how cold it can get in this old trailer during the winter. Even with the woodstove the temperature hovers between 60-65 most of the time. During an Arctic Blast however, it can be a challenge to get the room above 50. I had expected to have tender greens within a week, but tucked away in a drawer across the room from the woodstove my shoots have been slow to grow.

Nonetheless they are growing. I will have salad, and I will grow my own leafy-green veg this winter.

Check back soon! I’ll be sharing that balsamic vinaigrette recipe, as well as the opportunity to win a “Winter Growing Kit” during the week of the Winter Solstice! Subscribe to this blog by email so that you don’t miss anything!

Share your thoughts, comments or questions!