Going out for the newspaper a few mornings ago, I was greeted by a warm 50 degree breeze and sunny skies. Normally, such weather is more appropriate for the Spring Equinox than the Winter Solstice. But this has been a year of unusual weather so I shrugged off the morning breeze as yet another aberration in a year full of such occurrences. Splitting wood a few weeks ago, I was attacked by a swarm of mosquitoes and gnats. I continue to pull ticks off the cats when they come into the house from the outside. Buds on the bushes look as if they are about to burst into bloom. It doesn’t seem as if we are in Connecticut anymore.
On of the happy byproducts of this mildness are the salads we have been able to harvest every other day from the cold frame. Depending upon what is more up we have combinations of space spinach; sylvetta arugula; winterbor kale; romaine, red-tinged winter, and slow-bolt lettuce; claytonia; tatsoi; mache and parsley. Given the mild weather it has been easy to harvest continuously though one evening when the temperature was down to 26 degrees I made the mistake of trying to get a few leafs for a sandwich I was making. Upon opening the frame I noticed that the glass was glazed with frozen mist dripping with ice. Each leaf was preserved solid and cracked as I broke a leaf off a few stems. I made the mistake of trying to defrost my greens in cold water, which transformed icy greens to brown mush.
Few believed that I could produce greens almost year round but this year my efforts let us grow greens between mid April to the end of December. Next year I hope to extend that time even further; I’m beginning to figure out how to crack this. But a few days ago, as I looked at my greens, I could tell that my harvesting days were coming to an end. This is the season of harvesting, not of growth as the days are cold and the nights dark and long. I have, perhaps, only a few more harvests left so I cut most of the greens this Thursday so Juana and I could enjoy a large salad still from my garden. It was delicious, an early Christmas gift.