Honeybees-by-the-Sea Organic Terra Preta Nova Garden Winter 

Gardening in raised beds at our location in Coastal North Carolina is a year-round activity.  Indeed rarely a day passes when we are not eating something we have grown ourselves.   Here are scenes from our winter garden.  This has been a very, very cold winter with multiple snow days and extremely low temperatures at night.  I do use frost row covers when temps are in th 20's overnight.  Everything in this garden was planted in the fall and has not only survived, but has been feeding us all winter long.  Except the garlic, it will not be harvested until early summer, but it looks delicious right now.  

 Above, a bed of sweet lettuces flanked by Siberian Kale, grown from seed saved from Kale grown the previous year.  Beyond the lettuces are a bed of Winterbor Kale.  photo DML 

Above, a close up of the lettuces grown from seed planted in November.  When I plant lettuces, I mix the seeds, in my experience they grow better in a cosmopolitan blend and we like the rich variety and visual impact.  photo DML

Above,, the bed of Winterbor Kale planted in mid September from starts.  We planted them immediately after harvesting the sweet potatoes that had been growing in that bed all summer.  Note the compost mulch.  I mulch growing plants with compost only.     photo DML 
Above, close up of Winterbor Kale.   Their habit became extremely compact with the very cold weather.  The leaves remind me of lambs tails.  We have eaten Kale all winter long from our garden, so the plants are taking on a tree like shape. photo DML  

Above, the bed of garlic, planted in October, all round the border.   The garlics were a combination of saved garlic from the previous year and some store bought garlic.   The trellises are awaiting tomato plants, which will be planted in April.  The garlic will mature in May or June and be easily harvested from the border.  The bed has been mulched for the winter with autumn leaves that have been shredded with the lawn mower.  They will not blow around on windy days.  Notice only three trellises for the tomatoes.  I have been giving my tomatoes a lot of space, after reading Amy Goldman's fabulous book, The Heirloom Tomato.  So far my experience has been that fewer plants produce more fruit for a longer season.  photo DML  March
Above, a closer peek at the bed of garlic.  I will use this same planting plan, garlic around the border of next year's tomato plants in the years to come.  It make great use of the staggering planting and harvesting schedule.   The mulch is keeping the earthworms busy and out of trouble for the winter.  I only mulch the fallow beds for winter with leaves, and use compost to mulch everything else.  Because the char element of Terra Preta Soil tends to bump the ph high, I add a few shovel fulls of peat moss to the compost before I place it in the bed, not too near the growing stems of plants.  photo DML 
Above, Thyme, spinach and arugula and onions.  The arugula went wild and is now in bloom.  We love the spicy tang of arugula and use it daily in salads and also in stir fries.  I planted two varieties and they have been going all winter long.  Now the honey bees are enjoying the blossoms. photo DML  
Above, the onions celebrate the warming weather, the Arugula is beginning to blossom...can spring be far behind?  photo DML