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New cold frame with onions, lettuce, and arugula

This year my garden is expanding in a number of ways. One of those ways is the addition of three cold frames that I plan to use mostly for my winter harvest. I’ve been studying Eliot Coleman’s Four Season Harvest and hope to implement some of his ideas later this summer and into the winter. So my husband, Bob, made me three cold frames like the one that you see here, following Coleman’s instructions, except that Bob made them so that they could come apart if need be. And the lights (that’s what you call the glass covers) are just old storm windows that would have gone to the dump. They simply lay atop the base (as you can see below) or lean up against the house or a local bush when they are off. If I want them partially raised, I prop a stick under the front of the light, while the rear of the light rests against the house. Not fancy, but works pretty well.

Cold frame with lights in place

Those little green lines that you see in the image above are seeds that I planted recently. Over a month ago, I started arugula and onions inside, then a few weeks ago, I transplanted them outside in the cold frame. A week later, I planted seeds for a spring mix directly into the cold frame. We had some unseasonably warm weather last week and that spring mix just couldn’t pop up fast enough! The transplanted onions don’t seem to be very happy. They are still just green filaments sticking out of the bedding soil.  The transplanted arugula, on the other hand, that’s really doing well as you can see from the close up below.

Close up of the arugula transplants

I ask you, how pretty is that? Won’t be long and I’ll thin it out a bit more and have some fresh — really fresh — greens for my salad for the first time since last September.

At this point, the arugula might not need to be in the cold frame, though weather predictions have us into the twenties over the weekend, so it’s not a bad insurance policy. But I won’t transplant these into the regular garden. They’ll lives their lives in the cold frame, but not covered. Being cool weather plants, they’ll be past by the summer, surrendering the site to new seedlings that will be the start of a progression planting of my winter crop…but that’s getting ahead of myself. For now, I celebrate those green shoots that brighten these chilly March days!

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