Our cool weather garden has been a success overall. Let me first backtrack. After a few gardening failures, I was ready to give up. Then last summer a crazy tomato plant decided to spontaneously grow in a patch of mulch near our driveway. It grew so big that it needed it’s own zipcode! The tomato plant essentially showed us that we were gardening on the wrong side of the house. In October we removed some bushes, tilled the soil with some compost, and threw down seeds in hopes of growing various greens, broccoli, carrots, bok choy and radishes.
What then happened is that winter never really came here in Virginia. With balmy days and no real snow, our garden keeps on giving. We had a lot of radishes right away, and then sort of forgot about them. Just last week we found a MONSTER radish ( 4 1/2 inches!) which we threw in our salad. I have not bought lettuce in months, and the kids love helping me pick greens. Every other day or so, I go out with a pair of scissors and a bowl and fill it with red leaf and butter lettuce, arugula, spinach, swiss chard and kale. I’ve probably saved 75 dollars on salad greens alone! The kids are now pulling out carrots, and they are sweet and delicious!! The baby kale blends right into smoothies and the swiss chard has been used in soups and stews. We are now seeing our broccoli come alive! What a great time we have had, and what a lot of veggies the kids are eating. We used our own kitchen compost and got the seeds half-price at the end of the season. The grand total spent on our garden was 7 dollars! What a deal!
We also donated some garden boxes and seeds to Odyssey Montessori in Fredericksburg, VA. We started their garden soon after ours, and the kids have been enjoying salad greens and other produce all through the winter. At their annual Thanksgiving Feast the students had an entire salad bowl full of greens that they grew themselves!!!
We now have to figure out how to expand our garden so that we can grow even more this spring. Time to start planning-spring is just around the corner!