Snow Lettuce - gardening we don't know well

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Mon, 03/01/2010 - 22:49.

plastic clear cup greenhouse garden snow image 2.20.10 jeff buster

I took a walk through a community garden in the middle of February - no one else was there. 

About 6 inches of snow was on the ground, and it had been below freezing day and night for weeks, but look what was found!  Healthy green lettuce under these clear plastic cloches.
There were 4 of these “bell jars” in the garden plot, the two in the image above have 1/2” diameter holes in their tops, while two others (not in the image) had blue masking tape closing the holes.  I assumed that the gardener – who it appeared hadn’t been around since the fall – was conducting an experiment as to whether ventilated or non-ventilated cloches best supported the lettuce.
From my non invasive assessment, the ventilated lettuces appeared healthier and a bit bigger than the non-ventilated. It seems foreign and incongruous for leafy lettuce to be growing in the snow – yet here you have it.   Perhaps we have a lot of assumptions about gardening which we should adjust.
It is significant that the snow around the outside of the plastic has melted – clearly  radiant heat from the inside of the plastic has caused the soil and air around the cloche to heat up.    

If you look at the base of the trunks of trees in the woods during the winter you can observe this same radius of melted snow.


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welcome back!


  I think we can all AGREE to like lettuce and SPRING!  Welcome back Jeff--missed you big time :)

sure why not

 can get on board with lettuce and spring

eating the sun

You could buy these pricey cloches, but the ones pictured above seem to indicate that they're pretty easy to make out of the ridiculous amount of plastic crap we find our food packaged in at grocery stores. You break down and buy organic baby greens from California at some point in the winter cause you just have to eat a leaf, but the damned things are transported in a huge plastic box. You have to bring a cake to a gathering, but don't have time to make one - damn! At the grocery it comes in a huge plastic display case that you have to purchase in addition to the cake. Both these things will make great modern day cloches.

Wouldn't you know it? While searching for marais gardening, I come up with Leandre Poisson! Eat the sun.

This past weekend I attended a workshop on compost tea where they showed a video of Jean Pain's compost heating system. I could have sworn that it included some time on the Marais Garden's in 19th Century Paris. Well, haven't found that yet. But back to Parisian cloche gardens, they grew leafy greens in the city year round in manure (heat) under cloches. Paris was able to fend off famine with this simple technology. We have tended to look inside the earth and not rely on the sun in our 20th century plan for energy and sustenance. Maybe it's time to look up. The sun is still there shedding its light and warmth and energy every day in four seasons. :)

if you drink soda

the empty bottles with the tops cut off make great cloches ...

Cold frames

One thing we wanted to add to our homefarm this past years was cold frames - saved the material but didn't have the time to set anything up - we did put in a greenhouse window that provides greens and herbs to the kitchen year-round.

Has anyone in town done anything exciting with coldframes in their home-farm? Who is really producing food during the winter months, with real grass roots, around NEO, and how

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we made them

simple wooden frames with windows on top (slanted slightly towards the south) but I haven't had much time either... last season we used them for a nice start on seedlings though..

in our old home, we tore down an old enclosed south-facing porch (it didn't take much, it was crumbling itself) and we plan to do an attached 8' x 12' greenhouse.

We have saved windows for this

We have windows and a spot laid out but no time and money even for scrap supplies - this year.

It is so easy - just like chickens - I just wonder who is actually doing it? You know, growing their own food, all the time.

I know an old Ukranian man who sure knows how... learned it in the old country... could feed his whole family and others for nothing - full diet

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Norm - we have

 scrap supplies at house #2 - perfect for cold frames (you don't want them too high).

Just let me know!

really simple cold frame

Or just make it simply, moveable, no muss no fuss - two windows + four hay bales + one stick for propping open. In summer it goes away.


We had everything for this

Except the idea. Thanks.

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