In Which I Wish for a Cold Frame…

…And dream longingly of all the gorgeous salad greens that could be growing in it and ending up on my plate.

I was out in the garden on Wednesday, when the sun was shining and it was warm (50!). I decided to go through and pull out a few remaining plants that were long dead, but still in the beds. However, in the remnants of the Salad Garden of last year, I found this little guy. It’s a Bordeaux Spinach plant, and obviously still quite alive! Sadly, I had already pulled it out when I realized it was still alive. Besides, leaving it in would have been breaking my “no plants other than perennials” staying in the garden over the winter. No harboring aphids! (Of which there were a few on the plant.)

All the same, the fact that this spinach plant is still alive after surviving 0 degrees a few weeks ago with no protection whatsoever, is quite impressive.

It made me sad to think that if only I had a nice, simple cold frame made from an old window, I could be having scrumptious salad greens from the garden right now, rather than eating boxed and bagged greens from the grocery store. My mind’s eye pictures lettuce and spinach, vibrantly green and toasty on those sunny, moderately warm winter days. On days like today, they would be tucked cozily into the cold frame, with a nice, insulating blanket of snow keeping them warm.

Maybe next year…

About Rebecca

I'm a Horticulture Educator with Sedgwick County Extension, a branch of K-State Research and Extension, located in Wichita, KS. I teach about fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Posted on January 29, 2010, in Around the Garden and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. No cold frame? What happened to the nifty Coroplast greenhousy critter that you guys were showing at the Home & Garden Show?

    I admit I haven’t covered my version of it (because the only Coroplast I have at the moment is quite opaque), but the kale seems to be growing fine, if slowly, without it, and this way I don’t have to worry about forgetting to water it. But yeah, I should have some lettuce and chard and things.

  2. Yeah…we actually sold that greenhousey cold frame from the garden show last year. It was an incredible pain to work with! We also didn’t think we really had space to store it or that it would work with our style of raised beds.

  3. I have a sort of house-shaped frame of conduit over one of my beds, and last year I wrapped it in plastic sheeting. Plants loved it, but it was a pain to try to water the thing and get the sheeting back in place when the wind was whipping it around, so when I saw yours I figured Coroplast would be a much better solution. Instead of hinging the whole shebang, since the frame was already bolted to the raised bed, I figured I’d put in more hinges and whatnot in the Coroplast itself… whenever I get around to getting some translucent stuff, at least. Which at this rate will be May.

    The conduit frame stays on the bed year-round (and holds trellis netting when it’s not playing greenhouse), so I figure if I can fold the Coroplast flat it can go over the rafters in the garage during the summer, that’s not too bad storage-wise.

    Of course, since it’s still hypothetical, it’s *really* easy to store…

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