Things are winding down here for the season. The goats’ milk production is decreasing, Flora has been bred for next year and Pepper is soon to be, we’ve cleared out the gardens, and the turkeys have, erm, been ‘prepared’ for Thanksgiving. We’re both looking forward to having nothing to do until the sap run in late February. That should give us a good 4 months of rest; aside from feeding, cleaning and milking, we won’t have much to do. That might sound like a lot still, but it’s actually quite a bit less than what we’ve been doing the last 8 months or so!
Anyway, in spite of this, we have a small winter garden starting. Nothing much – just garlic, carrots and some greens. I’m probably crazy after such a disastrous summer garden, but I’m optimistic. (We wouldn’t be homesteading if we weren’t optimists, would we be?) After all, pests are dead and weeds aren’t growing as prolifically. Plus, the garlic needs no attention – it just needs to be planted now so that it will grow next year. And the greens and carrots don’t need much attention either, they just need to be positioned under a hoop house to be protected from frost. Otherwise, they’ll thrive in the cold.
I first learned about hoop houses through reading Mini-Farming: Self Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre. It’s an arch of clear plastic placed over the garden facing North-South to extend the growing season. Even though there are plenty of cold hardy plants, they have to have the frost kept off of them. Second, by having the openings of the arch at the North and South, it maximizes the amount of sunlight the plants get during the shorter days.
Will it work? We’ll see. Nothing ventured nothing gained, and at least this venture requires only a small amount of time!