Yesterday I had roto-tilled for hours, pulverizing the hard earth and blending in the mountain of aged cow-bedding compost. The earth is soft and friable now- so inviting to be planted. Brendan helped me measure and stretch ropes to lay out twelve 4-ft x 10 ft beds with 2-ft paths.
In all my reading about winter growing in high tunnels in cold climates, I haven't found much helpful information about watering or irrigation. I was still puzzling about what to do, so I called up a veggie grower from the Farmers Market and asked him whether I should put in a drip line, bury soaker hoses, or depend upon hand watering. I was happy when he strongly recommended hand watering because that meant I could dive into planting today instead of dealing with irrigation.
Starting from the upper left rectangle, the beds contain:
a. Bull's Blood and Touchstone Gold Beets
b. Leeks - Lincoln
c. Broccoli - Sessantins Grossa
d. Spinach - Smooth Leaf
e. Rainbow Swiss Chard
f. Bionda di Lyon Chard
g. Carrots - early Napoli
h. Kale - Toscano
i. Beauty Heart Radish
j. a row of pansies for immediate gratification, will also plant parsley and try cilantro
k. Asian Greens and Claytonia
l. Bunching Onion
Most of theses varieties are those suggested by the guru of winter growing, Eliot Coleman, in his book Winter Harvest Handbook. A few of them, like the Asian Greens and Claytonia, I had never even heard of before, so it will be an adventure.
It was so much fun planting seeds, although an odd feeling to be planting an entire garden in the fall. I felt the same dubiousness that I feel when I plant spring bulbs in October --but the bulbs always come through and amaze me. I hope these seeds will as well. I am dreaming of working in my surprisingly warm high tunnel in a sea of vibrant green on a snowy day in the all-too-near future!