Last spring I was ridiculously excited to pull the hay away from the still cold ground and discover parsnips, still alive and sweetened by their winter in the ground. Then I read an article in the MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Growers) newspaper on Elliot Coleman's technique. He lives in Maine and is a big proponent of four season gardening. He insists that even in Maine, even in the dead of winter, it's possible to over winter and/or grow greens and vegetables by covering them with two layers of plastic. Apparently, from Nov. 15 to Feb. 15 we are in a holding pattern where nothing increases in size due to lower light levels, but after February 15th, protected little green life will begin to grow again.
I started by cutting 3/4 inch black plastic water pipe into 8 inch lengths. I then fastened them to the sides of my raised beds or pushed them directly into the ground. Lastly, I covered them with two layers of clear plastic and used rocks and bricks to weight down the edges. I covered the edges with hay to insulate a little more.
Among the list of what I've planted is cilantro, spinach, mesclun mix, a winter stir-fry mix, parsley, broccoli, broccoli raab, radicchio, carrots, beets, peas, chard and Brussels sprouts planted and/or growing.
I am ridiculously excited, again, at the the idea of traipsing out to the garden in March and cutting greens for dinner .
Can't stop gardening!