Saturday, March 17, 2007

On the hardiness of cold frames

We started seeds on the 4th, letting them germinate in our kitchen window and moving them out to a strawbale coldframe shortly after. I find it's easier to use the sun's light and the straw's warmth than to try to replicate those conditions inside. I think it helps prevent legginess and to make hardening off easier. So, we tossed together 4 bales of straw and threw a window we removed from the barn when we built the coop on top to create a quick and easy coldframe. We were planning to have several long old Victorian style windows from my father-in-law as he's been replacing all their old windows at the beach house. Imagine my shock and dismay when he told me he'd put all those beautiful windows out by the curb for trash pick up!

To the right is the coldframe this morning after 6 inches of snow and temperatures in the 20s. I was hopeful, but not confident as I went out to check on them this morning before feeding and watering the animals. Here are the seedlings as happy and warm as can be!

You can see peas and broccoli raab poking their heads toward the sun. I'll probably shovel some snow back on top this evening to help insulate through the night, as our temps are supposed to drop again. My biggest concern was the fluctuation, as we enjoyed temps in the 70s last week. Thankfully, the earth was nice and warm, which probably helped these little guys weather the storm in their nice cozy straw house. Those three little pigs gave straw a bad name!


karl said...

do you do a classic cold frame putting manure benith to decompose and provide warmth?

Danielle said...

Well, the plan was to put it directly in the garden where it would have been on top of the compost layer there. But, as you can see, the straw barely made it out of the barn. *g* There was hope with the beautiful weather we were having last week that we were going to till the garden and begin direct sowing, so I decided to leave it in the shelter of the barn instead.

I had kinda abandoned my cold frame for the spring because the windows fell through. Grrrrr. Still bummed about that.

We're planning to build a hoop house this fall and do row covers inside that, hopefully extended our cold season crops right on through till spring.

(Glad to see you got your camera back!)

Christy said...

I'm using a large plastic container that is clear for a cold frame. My stuff is in pots though so not sure how much it is helping. I haven't been out to see if the dirt is frozen or not. It is just my lettuce and it hasn't sprouted yet so I'm hoping it will be fine. I need to get my seeds started inside but this cold weather is making it hard for me to get motivated!

Jenny said...

Hey, we LIVE in a straw bale cold frame! We've got stuff sprouting all over the place. Look for an update this weekend.

Hope you had a great trip!

karl said...

Happy Easter

Steph said...

Those are fantastic cold frames!!

I've moved my weblog btw and cannot remember any of my HS homesteader ring info.