|My greenhouse--storage area in the winter and needing to be cleaned out before I plant my greens this week!|
My greenhouse is a storage area in the winter, and with the snow and ice blocking the fence, I can't even get in there all winter. I was able to pry open the gate enough to squeeze through a few weeks ago to prune my apple tree, but yesterday the urgency of needing to get my greens planted overwhelmed me and I trekked to the greenhouse. The gate opened easily since the snow and ice are gone, but with every step I squished a few inches into the very mucky, wet lawn. I found last year's seed packets tucked around the greenhouse and checked out my stash in the freezer too (yes, I store my seeds in the freezer; supposedly they last longer!) to see what seeds I need to buy.
|Pruned apple tree, with the branches |
skinned by the rabbits
If I plant the lettuce and greens in the greenhouse by the last weekend of April, I will have lettuce for 5 months--June through October. Usually by this point of the winter I am so tired of store-bought lettuce it cannot happen quickly enough and I'm usually snitching the poor lettuce leaves shortly after they peep out of the ground. And I plant waaaay too much, which is fine because I love giving fresh stuff away. The garden is a serious month away from being plantable--like the lawn it is a mucky mess. Plus I need my compost bin to thaw out so I can pull out the stuff on the bottom and throw it on the garden before we rent a tiller from Uhlmer's for our spring tilling.
I am so casual about my planting it's amazing I get anything, but year after year I throw some seeds and plants into the ground, water it a bit, weed a bit and presto: food galore! I still have potatoes from last year's garden, stashed for planting this year. (Usually I mooch planting potatoes off my aunt, but this year I decided to be bold and independent and actually not eat all the potatoes.) My spinach, carrots and chives ran out a month or so ago, and I was happy my stash of onions made it into December this winter. My kale didn't last as long because I would throw a handful into my daily smoothie every day starting in September. By mid-September our freezer is always jam packed with fish, berries and veggies, and I make bets about how much I can fit in there.
At this time of year, when everything is cold and wet, it is ONLY because I've done this before that I do it again: the promise that yes, the sun will shine, things will warm up, things will indeed grow. I don't have to do it perfectly or prettily to get the produce. I don't have to have a high tunnel (more about that another blog post) to feed my family. I keep it within my time and energy limits so I have time to play, which is what Alaska summers are all about to me. The food supports me, rather than me putting so much energy into supporting my food. So I'll spend half an hour prepping my greenhouse and planting this week and then hope the sun shines and warms things up!