The Cold Frame

An Attempt to Stretch The Growing Season

I still don’t know how this experiment will end up.  The whole thing started when I wanted to extend the growing season here in the north, growing winter vegetables without a heated greenhouse.  After reading books about growing vegetables in winter, especially when one of them took place in Maine ( Winter Harvest Handbook by Eliot Coleman), I decided I would give it a try.  Maine is colder than where I live and if he can grow his vegetables inside a cold frame without a heater, then why not I.  That was my encouragement.

It hasn’t done much so far but that is my own fault.  I started too late in the season.  This cold frame requires two people to set up and we hardly have days off together so the project was put off until late October.  Did I mention the wind?  Don’t try to set this thing up when it is windy, especially a cold wind.  Seeds I sowed in there like Pac Choi, Scallion, Swiss Chard, Red Kale and Arugula sprouted up a few inches and then seemed to stop at this stage.  Those that have grown or were transplanted in there like Toscano Kale, Chinese celery, Swiss Chard and Parsley seem to be alive and haven’t frozen.

Cold frame in the snow
Cold frame in the snow

The Kale and Chinese Broccoli I grow in that area earlier are doing fine with 20ºF outside.

Pac Choi
Pac Choi

It remains to be seen what happens with even lower temperature coming this weekend.  The weather forecast is predicting that the low temperature this Friday night will be -4º F.  If they survive, it will give me more incentive to start earlier next fall.  I miss fresh Pac Choi and Mizuna!  If it doesn’t work this winter, I still be able to use the cold frame to start seedlings earlier next spring.

3 thoughts on “The Cold Frame

  1. Amazing to see the new growth inside your cold frame. Good luck with this experiment. There is so much beauty in your photos and writing. Best in the new year. Susie

    1. I’m not expecting much this time as I started it too late in the season. Looking forward to seeing your garden as it evolves in the coming year. Happy New (gardening) Year! Pris’

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