The Last Harvest of 2020

Post by Sheri

It has been a long year, even in the garden! In the past we have been able to push the garden well into fall, but never as late as December. I have read that in Vermont, farmers can grow greens into the winter using polytunnels. Apparently, protecting the tender plants from the wind is more critical than the cold.

So, during the fall clean up I planted some salad greens in one of the plots and covered them with poly tunnels. The only green that came up was arugula (rocket if you are in the UK) – which is no surprise as it does really well in Hangman Hill Gardens.

I have been watching the arugula grow, always wondering if I should harvest what was there, or keep letting it grow. It was always a balance between taking advantage of a warm fall temperatures and some pretty crazy storms with high winds that can damage the polytunnels (and did for the one covering chard).

Polytunnels over raised beds

With a Nor’easter starting to blow, snow falling and predictions for up to 12”, I knew it was time! Dressed in my down coat, hat and gloves, I harvested the arugula by head lamp with the snow swirling. I have harvested by headlamp in the dark, with the R.E.M. song “Gardening at Night”, playing in my head. Harvesting by headlamp in the snow is a first. The staves holding the tunnels in place were nearly frozen into the ground but I wrestled them out and… VIOLA! Fresh arugula on December 16th.

Inside the polytunnel
Little round ice drops yet green and tender arugula!
Arugula from Hangman Hill (Dec 16th!)

I hope this a good omen for 2021. Keep breathing and eat your veggies!

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