An Experiment in Winter Gardening: January Update

cold frame january

Sooooooo, things went downhill in January.  My acrylic plastic cover got a hole in it (it looked like from hail).  The hole only got larger when Dixie decided she wanted to hang out on the top of the cold frame all day.  Don’t worry, no doggies got hurt.  I knew that polycarbonate plastic is WAY stronger than both glass (which with the dogs I would never even attempt to use) and acrylic.  But that stuff is expensive!!  Since we didn’t really know what we were doing, we didn’t want to spring for the polycarbonate.  Next year, we will reconsider and probably go for the polycarbonate.

crack in cold frame

dixie on cold frame

But hey, I can safely say it is mid January and I have been eating fresh greens from my cold frame since fall.  That is pretty spectacular in my eyes considering temps have been in the teens and there has been over a foot and a half of snow on the cold frame.  I never before even thought any fresh produce from the backyard would be possible past the first frost in the fall.  I got 4 months past a typical garden and that makes me pretty happy for a first attempt.

in the garden, january

Once we took the cold frame off, I went outside and harvested everything that was left in the garden on an unseasonably warm (50 degrees in January, what!?) winter day.  I knew we had a huge lake effect storm coming our way the next day (It is now in the single digits with roaring winds and too much snow) so I had to get it done right then.  I pulled my carrots I had left in the garden which held up perfectly.  I think I am going to make some carrot cake themed muffins or something yummy to celebrate.  If I get a good recipe, I will share it for sure!  I pulled out my onions too and they were half and half.  If the onion was totally covered by the dirt, it held up wonderfully outside.  Some of my onions weren’t fully covered by the dirt and they just turned to mush.  I am not sure if the tops being more exposed to the elements got cold/wet and then mushed up or what the issue was.  I just know that they had to go in the garbage because they were pretty gross haha.  I did get a few good onions though.  I think I will make french onion soup with those to celebrate.  So so good!

pulling the garden out

Of course, my shining star in the garden was my greens.  Especially the kale.  It rocked!  It will be turned into tasty things like my latest soup creation, layered into lasagna, and brunch frittatas!  I froze it for now because my fridge has way too much food in it as it is.  I was off for a few days and I, no surprise here, went on a cooking spree.  I have a lot of great recipes in the line up so stay tuned.

bowl of kale and spinach

So for now, the experiment is over.  Which stinks, but it was an awesome learning experience and I am already planning ways to improve for next winter.  The best way to learn is trial and error!  Luckily, I don’t have much time to pout over my dead garden.  I have already received a few seed magazines for next spring.  I will probably be attempting to convince Matt to fix my broken plastic panel for the spring planting so I can harden off my seedlings outside a little earlier than I normally can.  Anything to extend the growing season is worth it in my eyes!

Stay tuned for an awesome 2015 growing season.  I will be sharing tips and tricks all season on how to get your garden going.  It is honestly one of my favorite and most rewarding hobbies and I want to help you guys try gardening whether it be 1 container on your windowsill or a full blown plot in your backyard.

much love,


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