Today marks Day 1 of our 2011 vegetable garden: We set out the coldframe. Rob built it for me two years ago at this time, and it has performed admirably over two early growing seasons, creating an ideal microclimate for starting cool-weather lettuce and arugula.
The coldframe is basically a wood-framed, portable greenhouse that takes up about a quarter of the vegetable bed. It has two plexiglas lids that can be propped open or fully closed depending on the weather. When it’s supposed to be warmish for a few days, I’ll prop the lids open. On cold days or nights, it gets shut up tight. If it gets well below freezing, I can place votive candles inside the frame and let them burn all night to prevent a hard frost.
I mixed four bags of mushroom compost into the soil today, and it looks like a rich, loamy bed. Within the next week, I plan to plant a couple of rows of lettuce (Yugoslavian Red and Buttercrunch) and some nasturtiums that I’ll transplant later in the spring to the herb bed. If all goes according to plan, we’ll have a crop of spring greens about 2-3 weeks early. As it warms up through March, I’ll also plant greens on the other half of the garden so we’ll have a succession of crops.