Friday, November 25, 2005

The cold frame experiment

I got a chance to check out my cold frame today, as I brought a bucket of kitchen compost out to the bin behind the gardens. I haven't had a chance to look at it lately; weekdays I don't have any time when there's enough light to see, and weekends have been busy.

The verdict: Better luck next time. The blast of winds, below zero temperatures, and snowfall resulted in the window pane falling and shattering all over the plants. I can't even lift up the two layers of plastic that cover the frame; they are frozen to the sides of the frame or the soil, I can't even tell which. I can see a couple of the lettuce plants, and they are frozen solid.

Oh well. At least I can take a break from gardening for a month or so now.

6 comments:

madcapmum said...

When and if you do get that going, I'd certainly be interested in your results. I'm thinking of building something similar. Chive saves old windows (his treasures, his precious), and we've got to do something with them.

Eleutheros said...

Be certian that the requiem for the lettuce isn't premature. Lettuce plants (and kale, spinach, beet tops, etc) in cold frames will freeze solid even here in the relatively balmy Southern Appalachians. Doesn't necessarily mean they are dead, though.

In a cold frame or green house, the trick is to keep the plants on minimum water so that the cells are not turgid. It is this water that freezes and ruptures the cell structures. If the plant is relatively dry, it can freeze stiff as a board, then thaw out and continue to grow.

Deb said...

Well, E, if we get a thaw here (and it's not going to happen for a few days) I'll check things out. The plants should be relatively dry; they've been under cover and I haven't been faithfully watering them. Thanks for the info!

TroutGrrrl said...

Hmmmm, maybe you need a double tunnel in your climate. We use them around here for all-winter harvesting of carrots and greens. It's pretty simply a row cover over the plants inside a high tunnel.

TroutGrrrl said...

I'll send a picture if I can remember to take one...

TroutGrrrl said...

It so happens, I visited the hoop houses today. They've got the winter low covers already in place for the cold nights and days. I posted 4 or 5 pictures here.

You've probably already seen this kind of thing, but what the heck.