It’s all about season extension up here in Montana, and these cold frames are one of my primary means of making the most of what I’ve got. I build them a little more than five years ago (Nina was pregnant with the twins, who are five now) and they work really well for a couple of reasons.
One is that they’re just outside the back door. This early in the season, I put flats out during the day, but bring them in at night. It’s just too cold, and I don’t want to risk losing the seedlings and having to start over. As it gets warmer, I’ll leave things out overnight, and I’ve been known to light a Virgin of Guadalupe candle out there to keep the temps above freezing. The other key to these cold frames is the double-wall plastic. I can’t remember where I bought it, just google greenhouse plastic, but because it breaks up the UV rays, it keeps the seedlings from burning up.
I need to get to work and start some other seedlings — flowers, broccoli, tomatillos, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Maybe this week. Outside, I have tons of Chinese cabbages and veggies under one hoop house, and broccoli rabe, arugula, spinach, and komatsuna, my new favorite vegetable, under the other. Those are all doing stupendously and I’ve been joyfully eating my own greens for two weeks now. In the exposed garden I’ve planted peas, and onions — I need to get some turnips and beets and chard and carrots in, but the weather was wonky this weekend. Intermittently cold.
It’s funny, the first couple of years I was really driven by my veggie garden, and now I”m a lot more relaxed. I like it. I LOVE eating my own vegetables (I’m convinced part of the reason I was so sick this winter was that I wasn’t eating my own veggies). But I’m a lot less driven? uptight? insane? about the whole thing these days. Things will get planted. Things will get eaten. Another year, another revolution around the sun.