I'm going to try growing salad veggies this autumn-winter using some low hoop and visqueen row covers. I planted a salad garden this time of year a couple years ago and we had wonderful fresh salad with our Thanksgiving Dinner, but it died shortly after. Still, I was surprised by how much I got out of it and I didn't have any bug problems to speak of. That part of it was really nice.
I'm using 1/2' pex tube for the hoops and old tent poles for stakes to hold them up and I'm going to experiment with using the reflective "emergency blankets" inside the rows running along the bottom 6"-10" inches of the row covers to help solar heat the inside during the day. Hopefully the soil will warm enough with that to help keep things from freezing inside overnight.
The past few winters we've had here have been pretty mild and I think I might be able to keep the covered rows warm overnight by covering them with emergency blankets on colder nights. (This will reflect the heat radiating from the soil back into the covered row and retain it longer).
I figure I can also burn a candles or oil lamps inside the covered rows and place cinderblocks over the flames to help retain and evenly distribute the heat on really cold nights.
This sounds like it could end up being a bit too labor intensive but I'm going to try to design it to minimize the maintenance routine. And I'm going to start with just one row in my garden for this, and probably only 1/2 -2/3 of one (24-36 sq ft) to make it easy on myself.
It's just an experiment, but if it works here it will work most anywhere in the mainland US and it could be a lot of fun and worth the bit of extra effort to extend the growing season. It certainly won't cost me much because I just won't spend much, so it should pay for itself pretty fast and then generate savings too, and last several seasons with minimal fuss.
Anyone have any thoughts or ideas on this?
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