Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Growing under glass: a cold frame update

I realize it's been ages since I've written anything about what's growing in the cold frames.

My last post was in late April, when the spinach was in its just-sprouted stage and the parsley hadn't even germinated yet.

That was then:

And this is now:


And taking a peek in the leaf lettuce and mesclun mix box... then:

And now:

I still find the transformation extraordinary -- from seed to food in just seven weeks! I know the argument for shopping at the grocery store is the "convenience" but really -- growing greens this way isn't just convenient, it's easy and so much more delicious that soggy or wilted store-bought produce.

And given all the battles that I'm waging in the kitchen garden with the weeds and the grass and the bugs -- not to mention managing these wild weather swings -- this cold frame growing seems so much more civilized.

Even Jack and Ella have been a great help with harvesting greens...


... and making delicious salads for some zero-mile inspired dinners, such as this one featuring homegrown eggs, herbs and asparagus.

Ella especially has embraced visiting the cold frames and bringing in a basket for each meal -- "just like in the pioneer times, mama."


The one lesson we learned is this: the props that we use to hold the windows open need to be more secure.

This one was the victim of an unruly gust of wind that lifted the open window and dropped it on the frame base, smashing it and beheading the lettuce and onions beneath it. As the bed is completely contaminated with glass, I think I'll let everything go to seed (the mesclun mix is already there) before removing all the soil and starting again.

On the whole, growing under glass has been a hugely rewarding experience and as the weather heats up and these greens near the end of their growing season, I can't wait to see what grows next.

8 comments:

Mama Pea said...

FANTASTIC! Omigosh, those greens looked so good I'm tempted to jump in the car, slurk in under cover of darkness and steal them! It really doesn't take hi-tech equipment to make good food grow even in our less than hospitable spring environment, does it? You done good, Girl! Wow again!

P.S. It doesn't do the plants any good if your top frame props fall out and the top closes and fries everything either. How do I know this? Ahem . . .

Fiona said...

Thanks, Mama Pea! Now if I could just get the rest of the garden looking so good! :)

Lindsay said...

Excellent! We grew our greens under glass this Spring as well with the same great results :) I'm definitely going to be using more cold frames in the future! Good luck getting that glass cleaned up...

Mr. H. said...

Very nice, your cold frame crops look fantastic. Wish I would have made better use of my own cold frames this spring...our spinach has been very slow to get going but is finally to picking size.

Erin said...

Those lettuces look fantastic! It's so great that your kids will eat them :)

Fiona said...

@Lindsay -- thank you! And yes, the glass is going to be a bit of a chore. Letting the greens go to seed is really my way of procrastinating!

@Mr H -- thank you! My spinach crop last year was paltry, so I'm really pleased with this year's. The rest of the garden, well... it's moving a wee bit slower this year.

@Erin -- thanks! Yes, the kids are really good about eating their greens.

Calling Ravens said...

A couple of years ago I was friends with a couple that made cold frames for the local Charter School. After the school year ended, we were invited to "pick whatever you want." It was wonderful! I wish I could afford a few of my own, hey ho.
Your's look fantastic and YAY! you do have asparagus!
meggs

Fiona said...

Thanks, Meggs! These cold frames are wonderful and we made them almost entirely with salvaged "stuff" -- the only parts we had to buy were the hinges. And sorry -- I forget to get back to you about the asparagus. Yes, we do have three very small plants, but I'm hoping to put in a big bed soon.

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