Before yesterday’s rain, I shoveled two feet of snow off two of our cold frames. There is a third cold frame still buried under snow. After one snow storm brought us over two feet, and another bringing a foot the following week, the cold frames have all been buried for a month. The snow pack provides a thick blanket of insulation protecting them from freezing night time temperatures.
After shoveling the snow, I opened the frames and marveled at the contrast between the green sprouts and the white banks of snow surrounding the cold frames. With days above freezing now, I'll be propping the frames open during the day.
|The mache is green and healthy|
The cold frames are now a part of a daily routine. This begins with a hike in the woods with our energetic dog, Murphy. Then I prop open the cold frames, and we go indoors and Murphy gets his breakfast. In the evening, before the temperature drops down into the 20's, Murphy and I have our evening trek, then I put the windows back down onto the cold frames. Not much work to that.
This year we had baby lettuce and mache until late in January, only harvesting the thinnings. The patch had been thickly seeded in late August, and the seeds were covered with a thick layer of compost. The dark color of the compost absorbed the sunlight, kept the soil warm, and the seeds germinated.
After taking out the thinnings for our salads, the weather was cold and we kept the windows closed on the frames. Now, there are lots of well-spaced little plants that will grow as the weather warms. They will be ready to pick by early April- just when we're getting ready to plant the main garden. As spaces open up in the cold frame, I’ll throw in more seeds and cover them with some compost. That's all there is to it. Not much effort for getting fresh, organic salad greens for a good part of the winter. And all for the cost of some seeds and a little labor. -G.H.