A lot about winter gardening has to do with timing. In order to get a successful winter crop, you need to sow your seeds at the right time. Lettuce and other greens are a great example of that. Sowing your seeds, in a greenhouse, around the autumn equinox, will give your greens enough time to get to a decent size before the cold comes. The plants don't have the time to get too big, and accidently go to seed due to the heat.
How Many Plants Do I Need For Every Person?
Once you have established plants in your greenhouse, you'll be able to use a cut and come again method to prolong the harvest into the winter. Things grow much more slowly in the winter, so to feed yourself, you'll need to have 8-10 plants per day for a 10 day period, if you wish to eat lettuce everyday. This can be applied to mustard and herbs too. If I want one salad everyday, I need 80-100 plants established in the winter greenhouse. That's an area of approximately 100sf. If you space them no more than 12 inches apart. Three 8X4 garden beds should fit in your winter greens.
To ensure your lettuce has enough protection in a cold area, make sure you add row covers on top of your greens. To add the most warmth possible, take the row covers off any day that the temp inside the greenhouse is above 32°F, and return the covers before night.
I have a cheap, creative little greenhouse that I use specifically for winter gardening. It's easy to knock the snow off and keeps the heat in pretty well. To see the exact item I bought click the link above.
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