I finally had a chance to do something in the garden. My spring itch has subsided a little bit once I had the chance to get my hands dirty. The garden is still covered with a foot or so of snow that is slowly melting away. We made a path to the bird feeder a few weeks ago and today I made an extension path to the vegetable garden.
I opened up the cold frame for the first time today. It has been closed up for the last three months. I had good intensions to grow and harvest vegetables in winter but I couldn’t get access to it. With three feet of snow covering the vegetable garden and temperatures that dropped to below 0 degrees Fahrenheit and sometimes double digits below, I didn’t expect to see anything alive in there. I also haven’t been able to water inside since I closed it up.
The temperature was hovering around 40 degree and I managed to dig my way there so it’s a good day to check the inside. As soon as I pulled the tape off and opened the plastic ‘door’, I could feel the heat rushing out. To my surprise, there were some red lettuces, mustard greens ‘Dragon tongue’, Mizuna, Red Russian Kale, Swiss chard and some carrots that survived the ordeal. Not in such a good shape though. These are the ones that made it through winter as seedlings and now they are not much bigger. There are also some new seedlings that sprouted up. I have no idea what they are. My best guess is either Broccoli Raab or Pak Choi.
I took my time cleaning up inside the cold frame; pulling up the dead, clipping off dry and rotten leaves, and pulling up weeds and moss. Then I put new seeds in. The day time temperatures are still around 30 and 40 degrees fahrenheit and at night will drop down ten points or more most of the time. However, the temperature inside the cold frame is much warmer because of the heat trapped inside. So, this is a good time to put seeds in to get a head start for salad and transplanting later on.
I’m happy and satisfied getting my hands dirty. In two to three weeks, we will have baby greens for salad. The vegetables that survive the winter will also be big enough to harvest for soup and stir-fry.
By the time we finish with the greens, the temperature outside should be warm enough to transplant Swiss chard and kale to their permanent spots. The following are the seeds I put in, most of them do well in cooler temperatures.
- Lettuce: Green Oakleaf, Danyelle (red leaf), Black Seeded Simpson
- Swiss chard: Fordhook giant, Ruby red
- Kale: Red Russian, Nero Di Toscana
- Radish: French breakfast, Sparkler white tip, Red meat
- Edible Chrysanthemum (Shungiku or Tang Oh): Round leaf, Serrated leaf
- Chinese broccoli
- Pac choi: Green, Red choi
- Arugula ‘Astro’
- Carrot ‘Short ‘n Sweet’
- Mesclun (arugula, red Russian kale, endive, chervil, Raddichio, red romaine, and Bibb)