Looking for Fresh Homegrown Vegetables during the Dead of Winter? Eckert's has 'em!
No more waiting around all winter long for the taste of fresh and juicy veggies! On Monday, November 8th we planted 6 different types of lettuce and spinach in our Green House attached to our Garden Center. Buttercrunch, Red Leaf Lettuce (red salad bowl), Mesclun (a mixture of baby lettuce and spinach), Green Salad Bowl, Grand Rapids Lettuce, and Bloomsdale Spinach have all been planted. Eckert's is very excited to try something new this year, and if all goes to plan, our lettuce and spinach will be available all winter long! We are testing the waters with this first crop of lettuce and spinach, and currently have enough planted to produce 45 lbs per week. This is the first time we have ever attempted to grow any vegetable during the winter months, and we are able to do so because they only require a 50 or 60 degree temperature inside the greenhouse. Lettuce and spinach are some of the easiest things to grow indoor this time of year because they only require a soil bed 6 inches deep, and they do not require extremely warm temperatures. We could potentially grow 150 lbs of lettuce and spinach per week, and that could supply fresh homegrown lettuce and spinach to our Country Store, and possibly our Country Restaurant! We have chosen to produce leaf lettuce because it grows faster than a traditional head of lettuce and produces more. Eventually we plan to grow other winter crops including tomatoes, turnips, beets, arugula, and possibly broccoli, cauliflower or brussel sprouts. The long term goal here at Eckert's is to have what are called high tunnels. According to Hightunnels.org, high tunnels are unheated, plastic-covered structures that provide an intermediate level of environmental protection and control compared to open field conditions and heated greenhouses. Having high tunnels creates fantastic opportunities for our farm! It can allow us to grow crops during the winter, have extended growing seasons, and for crops such as strawberries, it can allow us to plant earlier and harvest as early as March instead of waiting until May. Being able to offer fresh produce to our customers all year round is something that we are extremely excited about here at Eckert's and we look forward to sharing our homegrown goodies with you!