As I was discovering more about the Winter Garden, Jon bought me this awesome book that explains how a zone 5 Maine commercial farm performs the winter harvest to supply local restaurants with fresh vegetables. Its nothing short of amazing if you live in a cold climate, to know you can have fresh veggies in the winter.

The secret is double protection and timing. With their ‘cold house technique’ they sow seeds straight into the ground outdoors, with one large quonset hoop above and row covers below (wire ‘wickets in the shape of a rectangle holding row covers) Then when the weather warms, they move the whole ‘house’ to cover warmer vegetables.

To get this winter harvest, they start the cold vegetables in August and September, providing the heat necessary for seeds to germinate. As the weather grows colder, they protect the plants from frost with their ‘cold houses’.

Since I missed the August sowing date this year, my plan is to start seeds indoors and harden the flats off in a double protected cold frame like Eliot uses.

From The Winter Harvest Handbook by Eliot Coleman

Page 6. (this image from the kindle edition)

Page 6. (this image from the kindle edition)
Great customer image on Amazon

On a Smaller Scale. Great customer image on Amazon

and last but not least, where I bought the floating row cover (1.5oz weight).