Hoophouses and greens

Although we live at roughly the same latitude as the bone chillin' Minnesota or North Dakota, we have an ocean to regulate the temperatures a bit, or a lot! The same ocean that makes it difficult to grow hot season plants here is the same one that makes it possible to grow cold tolerant greens in the winter. In recent years there has been a lot of emphasis put on hoop houses to extend seasons, even in the bone chillin' north. These structures give plants a few degrees protection from frost and cold and also stop the winds that make things freeze faster.

We planted out hoophouse to green things a few weeks ago to some greens we hope make it through the "cold winter" we are supposed to have this year. In there is some lettuce, mustard greens, cabbage, chard, and kale. I would like to keep a few of the survivors and let them seed out. I could then collect the seeds next summer and plant them again in the fall for winter survival. If I do this enough times I will have seeds that are very tolerant to our cold snaps. As of now I use seed that is purchased and not bred for things like cold tolerance. Who knows, maybe soon we will have our own breed of lettuce. And besides, it just plain makes sense for a farmer to start saving his own seed for future use.

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