Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winter growing is slow

I had great expectations for the amount of food we could produce during the winter now that I have a full sun area to grow in all year. I thought that the shorter days would still be long enough, and our weather warm enough, to keep things growing as rapidly as in summer. 

I don't know how many articles I read leading into the cooler season about how it was possible to grow all through winter and in shade. It is possible, but none of those articles explained that everything would grow much more slowly, by weeks or even months in some cases. 

I think precise timing is going to be the key in making sure we have plenty to eat next winter and I think I will have to do at least a little bit of canning next fall in order to make up for the slower growing season in winter.

The warm season gives us time to successively plant twice, so I can start a tomato from seed, plant it, go through the growing cycle and then do another one between March and the end of August here in San Diego. The shorter winter days and the drop in temperature do not allow for that much productivity, no matter how much sun I have.

Thankfully, as of Thursday, the days will start getting longer again so we will be eating very well again soon.  

Some plants, such as black eyed Susan vines, do extremely well in the winter but they aren't edible.
These peas are going off right now but they were started back in August and we are just now able to eat them consistently. They should have been ready to eat within 70 days so they are a few weeks late.

This Swiss chard went in during early September and should have been ready to eat in 60 days. It's late too. 

Remarkably our basil is still doing great even though it generally does better in warmer weather.

These tomatoes went in during late August and they are late too, they aren't the happiest tomatoes I've ever grown either. I don't think I'll grow winter tomatoes next year.

This cabbage is a late August planting too and it is also late but getting close.

These purple peas went in late in August and are just now starting to bloom, late again. They sure are pretty though.

The nasturtiums are really boggling my mind, they've been there since early August and still show no sign of blooming.

The garden peach tomato has been here since July and it is still doing okay. I am hoping to keep it going for another  warm season. Tomatoes can be perennials if they remain healthy. 
We finally have our first head of cauliflower forming, we should have seen this weeks ago.

Gidget is hiding from the cold today so she will not make an appearance. Here's Frijole trying to stay warm instead.
Even with the slower growth, our winter plants are still healthy and they will pick up as the days get longer so it's all good but next year I will start our winter plants a few weeks earlier.

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