Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why is she so lucky?

         These two paragraphs were lifted from a previous post on 2/21/11.  Read on for an update:

Straw Bale Frame 2/20/11
     Emily and husband Mike host a Halloween party for friends and family in the fall.  Mike has access to a full size tractor and trailer, the beginnings of a top notch hay ride.  All the kids, maybe twelve or more, fill the space in the trailer.  Adults have to trek around while the little candy grabbers ride in luxury.  Still, a good time is had by all.  Lonely straw bales at the end of the day.  A golden opportunity for Pop to get rid of the nasty old storm windows stored in the garage for decades.  Mom thanks you Em.
     Last fall, Emily and I put the bales around some existing plants in her garden, and moved some others.  An instant cold frame.  Unlike her Pop who worries and coddles and tries to insulate his veggies, Emily ignored her charges over the cold winter.  She was shocked and pleasantly rewarded to see beautiful Swiss Chard and various lettuces happily growing through the hard winter.  Em, as I suggested yesterday, things could use a little water.

       Update:  Emily and family just got back from a week's vacation on this past Sunday.  While they were away, the weather hit 70 something, so I made sure to visit to take the glass off of her cold frame.  But  then it was forecast to be in the twenties on Saturday night, so I asked my wife to put the glass back on Friday with some gaps for ventilation.  I asked Emily on Tuesday about the frame, and her answer was: "Gee Dad I don't know, I haven't had the time to check".  When I get back from vacation, the garden is the first thing I check on after I have determined that the house hasn't burned down.  Different priorities.
     Emily sent me a picture today.  Blew me away.

Emily's Straw Bale Frame, 3/24/11

     Monster lettuce, absolutely beautiful!  The arugula on the right side we planted just a month ago when we took the upper foto on February 20th.  An outstanding crop of swiss chard near the top, with frilly dill just below that.  There is some pretty lush chick weed in there as well, but it too is delicious on a salad.
     So I ask, why is she so lucky?  She told me today that she didn't even water per my February suggestion.  On top of that, the frame runs absolutely perpendicular to the way I would have made it if not for the existing plants we boxed around.  It would seem that the plants love the insulation of the straw bales.  There also may be a fertilizer effect from rain and snow percolating down through the straw bales.  In any event, I am pretty sure that Emily will be repeating the process this year.
     Enjoy your salads Em.  I wish my greens were that big!

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