Sunday, January 9, 2011

Starting the New Year

     That miserable cold December weather made me stir crazy.  So with a little warming on January 2nd, it was back to the park to get cold and dirty.  This picture shows my two previously completed cold frame projects and a bed that was hastily covered with plastic before the cold weather set in.  I was worried that the instant bed would crush the plants as there was not much headroom, actually there was no headroom.  Snow and rain had formed frozen ice jams on top of the plastic, so I feared for the greens underneath.  So, onto the first building project of the year!
      The plastic was gingerly moved away from the bed to reveal that the plants starts had indeed made it, and actually looked pretty happy.  From bottom to top is celery that I rescued from the communal compost pile, a couple of garlic starts, two rows of arugula, and several rows of mizuna mustard.
     Above is the "before" picture.  Shown are the glass panels that have been "lovingly stored in the garage for over a decade, just waiting for the perfect opportunity."  The opportunity is here.  The boards on top of the compost pile are "Trex" lumber.  I got two 20 ft x 6 inch and one 12 ft x 12 inch from responding to a Craigslist offer.  Free!!  Well over $100 if I had purchased the stuff.  And oh yes, the glass panels were rescued years ago from a neighbors trash on the curb.  Thrift and recycling at its best.  Please notice in the above picture the desolation of the surrounding plots.  December was cold and windy, and even the hardy cole crops suffered.
      This was a quick and dirty construction job.  The north side of the cold frame is the Trex 2 x 6 anchored upright by several oak slats driven into the ground and attached with screws.  The south side of the frames sit right on the ground.  When time permits, I will add height to the frame to allow for taller veggies, but this was a quick rescue mission!  So here above is the completed frame in only a couple of hours.
     This is another picture taken right before the completion of the new cold frame.  The higher cold frame in the top right corner was my first frame.  Most of the plants in it are either volunteers that grew right there, or have been transplanted there.  There are tons of volunteer carrots and celery growing around the garden from the seed heads that I left to grow last season.  The plants in the frame to the left of the box were started from direct seeding on 8/27/10.  From left to right were Easter Egg Radish mix, Rouge d'Hivre lettuce, Tenderheart Chinese Cabbage, Black Seeded Simpson lettuce, Champion collards, arugula, Pak Choi, Tyee spinach, Fedco Tenderleaf Hardy Greens, Ching Chang, Fedco Senposai, Mizuna mustard and Tah Tsai.  The three that have not done well are Pak Choi, Tyee spinach and Ching Chang.  I wish I had more of the beautiful little Tah Tsai.  Many of the plants from this bed were thinned and transplanted to the other two frames.
     Planted in the second bed and very successful are Fedco's Thick Ribbed Chinese mustard and ice arugula.  Both of these will be new standards for the garden.  Also very nice is the fairly sweet Red Russian kale, which never makes it to the frying pan because it is so good eaten straight from the garden.   -   So ends the first try,  1/9/11   George


  1. What a great idea. You've inspired me to do the same. I've been delaying this project for a while, but you make winter lettuce look oh so appealing!

  2. Way to go, Bro! I will follow your jolly prose till the cows come home!