Throughout the winter months, Appetite For Change’s urban agriculture team maintains two gardens: one in our Deep Winter Greenhouse and the other in a hoop house at Freedom Farm. While this helps us extend our growing season, gardening indoors can be tricky.
In the hoop house at Freedom Farm, spinach grows under two layers of protection from the frigid temperatures. Our urban agriculture facilitator, Frank Licari, chose to plant spinach because of its hardy nature, making it a great crop to survive the cold. He says it takes trial and error to figure out how much water crops need in the winter. Some crops are able to survive with very minimal watering and, if you water too much, the water may freeze on top of the crops! There is also a balance to strike for how much ventilation to give the crops. When the sun comes out, Frank drives over to the hoop house to open the doors and let the “warmer” air in.
The story is a little different at our Deep Winter Greenhouse. The temperature controlled space allows for more robust lettuce production, which we grow and sell to Cove Restaurant. In the winter, traditional red lettuce loses its color, leaving only a faint reddish hue on the mostly green leaves. Frank is enjoying experimenting with different watering methods to maximize efficiency in our new greenhouse.