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Growing food year round

2014 February 19
by Rachel Turiel

This is what February looks like in our garden:

workshopNew experiment: soil amended by cast-offs from neighbor’s organic commercial marijuana growing operation. Little cannabis rootlets decomposing into the next generation of garden soil.



Which is to say, by late March there will be green things from the garden for making salads, for sizzling in the embrace of hot oil and garlic.

We are growing lettuce, bok choi, kale, parsley, chard, arugula, spinach and cilantro, each plant shrugging stoically at the cold Colorado night time temperatures.


April, 2013

Come join me at the 6th annual Homegrown Retreat on Saturday, February 22nd, 1pm at Fort Lewis College to learn How to Grow Food Year Round. (Hint: it’s easy, inexpensive, tasty and you get to bypass the fossil fuel economy for one nanosecond).

2014 food retreat poster-01 (1)

There are many other cool workshops, info-sessions and local eating opportunities. More info here

6 Responses leave one →
  1. February 19, 2014

    Just learned about this. Interesting stuff. Harvest later in the day in the winter.

  2. February 19, 2014

    That is truly amazing considering your elevation! We have 3 feet of snow but we’re planning on putting in a greenhouse this year. I managed to grow food until mid Dec in last year’s garden, a first for us, and I’m excited to push the limits further this year.

    I did come across something interesting the other day with winter gardening, something that concerned me because we don’t often have 6 hours of sunlight in a day. It’s from the ‘Sustainable Market Farming’ book:

    ‘Reducing Nitrate accumulation in the winter
    During periods of short daylight length, there is a health risk associated with nitrate accumulation in leafy greens. Nitrates are converted into toxic nitrites, which reduce the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen. Additionally, nitrites can form carcinogenic nitrosamines. Plants make nitrates during the night, and when the day length is short, the nitrates do not all get converted into leaf material. It takes about six hours of sunlight to use up a night’s worth of nitrates. In the winter, leafy vegetables can easily contain the acceptable daily intake level of nitrate for an adult in just a small handful of leaves, unless special efforts have been made to reduce the nitrate levels. Spinach, mustard greens and collards contain about twice as much as lettuce, radishes, kale and beetroots often have two and half times as much. Turnip greens are especially high, at three times lettuce levels. ‘

    Have you heard about this before!? It got me concerned with my desire to grow food year round in our colder climate! I’d love some feedback :)

  3. Rachel Turiel permalink*
    February 19, 2014

    Jennifer and Little Mtn Haven,

    Thanks for this info. I had no idea. Seems like best practice is to not fertilize your plants during the winter, and harvest just before sundown.

    The plants in my cold frames go dormant (without dying) from late November to mid February. They are just starting to grow again now, and by the time they’re ready for harvesting, we’ll be close to the spring equinox, so we’re prob in the safe zone.


  4. February 21, 2014

    If you know what all the policy covers, it will
    be very helpful in deciding what you need and what you can
    forgo. It shows all the tickets youve gotten for reckless driving, speeding, and not obeying general
    traffic laws. So, why would you EVER consider doing business with any insurance company LOWER than
    NUMBER 10 on the list.

  5. February 23, 2014

    Such inspiration Rachel!! I need to figure out a way to keep the local deer at bay.

  6. June 9, 2014

    It’s truly a great and helpful piece of information. I am glad
    that you just shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us informed like this.
    Thank you for sharing.

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