It is dipping below zero weather around here, and I am spending a lot of time with seed catalogs, reading blogs of others that live in warmer places, admiring their gardens,food growing, + pondering what will next year be like in our Urban Potager…well, it will be an Urban Oasis…what is that? This thought was on my mind as I headed outside to see if anything was alive in our winter Urban Potager.

This is where my Fall/Winter garden vegetables use to be, I moved them closer to the house around Thanksgiving, but I left a few  in place to see how they would handle our winter uncovered. The rest were moved against our south facing wall outside, and I repotted them which did not pose any problems for the Kale. I also potted up Kale and Swiss Chard for inside.  My experiment this year is to see how long I can harvest "something" from my winter garden without cover. The Swiss Chard is inside now protected it can not handle below zero weather in our area uncovered!
This is where my Fall/Winter garden vegetables use to be, I moved them closer to the house around Thanksgiving, but I left a few in place to see how they would handle our winter uncovered. The rest was moved against our east-facing wall outside, and I moved them to containers which did not pose any problems for the Kale. I also potted up Kale and Swiss Chard for inside. My experiment this year is to see how long I can harvest “something” from my winter garden without cover. The Swiss Chard is inside now protected it can not handle below zero weather in our area uncovered!
These are the last leaves to harvest from the snow covered area in our potager, but the ones in pots outside are doing very well.
These are the last leaves to harvest from the snow-covered area

I forgot to cover some of my crops this winter…where oh where is there something edible, but wait I have Blue Scotch Kale alive and thriving in my freezing weather!!!!It was 3 degrees yesterday with wind chills in the negative… I moved some of my Blue Scotch Kale up closer to the house. You can do anything to this plant, and it survives! I moved it from our raised bed in the Urban Potager to planters closer to my home to be protected. It took root!

They like being up next to the wall with morning sun to keep them warm...I have not covered them yet!
They like being up next to the wall with morning sun to keep them warm…I have not covered them yet!

I started these plants in the spring under lights. LOOK!!! It is surviving! It is hanging out and not being bothered by what is going on around it today..hmm…it even is providing a salad on this FREEZING day…the world outside is cold, but I created an “Oasis” for my Blue Scotch Kale to survive…Yes, I did indeed!

lifted these from my winter garden 4 weeks ago and they are adjusting to their new pots outside.
lifted these from my winter garden 4 weeks ago and they are adjusting to their new pots outside.

I guess I am like Kale. I adapt to my environment and cope with what is thrown my way, I too need a place to be protected from the elements of the weather…or life, so an Urban Oasis would be a place to find shelter from what is going on around you....I created an “Oasis” for my Kale. A place of refuge from the unpleasantness occurring around it…sometimes our lives can be surrounded by cold/chaos, and we need a place to retreat, to replenish, to find peace…that is what an Urban Oasis should be…

trim the stems...
trim the stems…

The dictionary defines an Oasis as ” A fertile or green spot in a desert or wasteland, made so by the presence of water.” Well, that water does not have to be “real water”, but whatever you need to replenish your “spirit” in a world where we need to retreat from the chaos…

my winter greens...
my winter greens…

An Urban Oasis should be “a place of peace, safety, or happiness in the midst of trouble or difficulty”, so we need to create a place in our small urban area to find peace, safety and happiness in the midst of a troubled world….

I created an oasis for my Blue Scotch Kale and it provided me a fresh winter salad!
I created an oasis for my Blue Scotch Kale and it provided me a fresh winter salad!

and it does not have to be in a big way, all you need to do is begin! If you have some space outside your doors no matter what size/how difficult it looks…just start…you will find your own oasis in a chaotic world, and no two will be alike….that is the beauty of our free will in this world….so follow your heart.

Written by Robbie

M.S. Education, , Organic Gardener, soil + nature lover, former modern dancer

37 comments

  1. Robbie, this might be the happiest gardening post I have ever read! The genuine delight you get from every phase of gardening and experimentation really comes through. Thanks for the smiles, Sheri

    1. Yeppers:-) It is a delight to have a space to experiment! I look forward to hearing about your B. Green Tint Squash…seeds will be there soon:-)

  2. Robbie, you are so inspiring! I’m guessing you put as much care, attention and love into all aspects of your life as you do the kale – it shows in your writing honey!!

    I live in an area where the hardest of winters are mild in comparison to yours – I have never had to move anything to protect it from freezing – the odd delicate plant that is not frost hardy may not survive an especially tough winter – but they are rare!

    Between you and Wendy I am so inspired to turn my pocket handkerchief into a productive garden I may eventually actually get started 🙂

    1. aww…thank you…it is so worth it since it tastes sweeter in the freezing weather! I look forward to seeing you “create” your productive garden:-)

  3. My Red Russian Kale was hit a little harder than your Scotch Blue by the rare 14 degree weather we had in Seattle last week. But it’s still alive and so is my chard and some of my mustard greens. I’ll get some greens out of there for months yet I think (Hope..). You’ve certainly created a wonderful oasis for yourself and it’s wonderful to see it. It’s so satisfying to do this work isn’t it? I love it that I’ve found your site… 😉
    Great work!
    Steve

    1. And I am glad to find your site too!…My red and white russian did not do as well as the blue scotch Kale.It sure is satisfying work! Just a bit too cold to be out there too long right now-lol I will be starting a lot of plants here in the next month, so I will get my growing bug fullfilled!

  4. Yay for kale! I had some Red Russian still alive last week. Not sure what’s happening with them under the snow now. I just can’t wait to start my 2014 garden, and like you, am now plotting with seed catalogs. Although I’ve had tons of seeds still in my stash. Decisions, decisions…Btw, your winter salad looks so festive and delicious! XOXO, Angie.

    1. It was really good! It had cranberries and walnuts, you are right festive it was:-) I have no idea how you get all that food done with all those detailed recipes, I have a hard enough time making a simple salad…I am a novice cook-lol….I can fix things simply, but if it requires anything too detailed I usually make mistakes!

    1. lol..that is how I decided to move them to containers since I did find some of it survived our winters one year! I just lift them and move them where I want them ( Chard,too). They fill out and never seem to mind being transplanted. They are a super food:-) Next year I have some seed for a red open-pollinated kale that stands tall in the garden ( 3 feet) and I am wondering if it would make it through the winter in place-we shall see..that is how I discovered Blue Scotch is one that keeps on living below zero!

  5. A lovely post Robbie and that salad looks absolutely delicious!! I make something very similar with baby spinach. Chard is something we eat heaps of, it’s so nutritious and versatile. An oasis is what we aim for here but I am afraid it’s generally just alot of unfinished projects everywhere :)….one day!! We have certainly “greened” it up though.

    1. 🙂 I need an Oasis to escape “to” from all my projects at home and in the outside work world, but my garden is green and growing ( even my weeds are green-lol) and filled with wonder, so it is easy to escape all the “to do’s” in life:-)

      1. I actually enjoy our cold weather since it makes me tackle those other projects that keep nagging to be done.You are right “easy out” since it never seems like work! What would we do without our gardens–go CRAZY!-lol

      2. Yes indeed lol

        I came home from work yesterday evening with all my shopping and yelled out the window for hubby, he was sitting down in the garden watching the chooks and birds. I made a coffee and headed out there, we sat there for two hours chatting, watching, sitting. It was wonderful but we came in to breakfast dishes still sitting there, shopping to put away, a way late dinner….!

      3. and that was okay indeed:-) Those are the best times because you always have dishes to do, things to put away, but time together to chat and enjoy are so rare and far and few between. We are not sitting in our yard right now it is 30 outside, but more snow and freezing weather coming. I am waiting for my youngest to come home from college today, and we are all off for the holidays here which is nice:-)

  6. Hi Robbie, thanks for browsing around my site recently, (http://smallbluegreenflowers.wordpress.com/ ) I’m glad you are enjoying the lovely gardens in England! It’s not quite that lovely right now, but no snow so far! I thought I’d pop in and see how you are doing in your garden. I’m hoping to raise a few edible plants myself next year as we are in the middle of buying a new house with a small garden and backyard. I’m sure I will be able to find room for some salad leaves, herbs and tomatoes somewhere! I love the idea of a potager – combining flowers and vegetables. BTW you mention chard above, did you see my post of chard? http://wp.me/p3jVw4-lD
    Now that’s one which would look good in a potager 🙂
    Jude xx

    1. YIPEE…you are getting a house with a garden! I am so excited to see what your shots will be! I still chuckle when I stop by your site and your response to my comment abput how I want that garden, you said– “I would need a gardner to take care of those gardens”…lol…I will stop by and check out your Swiss Chard I have not read that one, heading over to check it out:-)

    1. 🙂 you are too kind… I don’t mind the cold, but in the negatives I’m not too eager to be out there..but if it is 30 degrees I am good to go…. I was thinking about your new WHITE kitty keep an eye on her with her first snow fall she will blend in!

  7. What a pleasure to read this post… I like kale very much too but the one I have is a different type… yours lokk really hardy… and the salad looks gooood…

    1. Hi Lrong, thank you:-) I have found the Dwarf Blue Scotch Kale (usually 12-15 inches tall) does really well in our small growing areas. It is a pretty, curly blue green-color, and it is hardy. I start the seeds in the spring, let them grow until early fall, and on a nice cool day (around 60 degrees) I dig them up and move them where I want them, so we can enjoy them as the snow falls. This is the second year I have moved them and this year I put them next to the East wall, and they are thriving in this below zero weather! We have a wonderful winter Kale salad several times a week. I am exploring some other crops that can handle the cold in our area. The best thing about being in an urban area is we have shelter from high winds and the buildings warm up and keep the plants warmer than if they were out in an open field. It was a good salad-lol.. I am into cranberries in my salads this year, that flavor-PERFECTO!

  8. Four-season gardening is great, esp in winter when there’s less work to do! Thanks for sharing this story! PS, I feel a lot better about never getting around to cutting back the collard greens now… 😉

  9. Go kale! Reminds me of the little engine that could! I love to make Portuguese kale soup. Kale is sometimes impossible to find once the farmers’ markets are done for the winter.

    1. One of my favorite stories as a kid!!-I think I can…I think I can… I know I can:-) Babsje, that is what motivated me to grow it in my backyard. I would go to the farmers market early in the morn when they opened and it would be gone! I found out how easy it was to grow on my urban lot! Now I grow all kinds of kale and I am not dependent on them for my kale:-) I know I can grow Kale-lol:-)

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