This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he always thought the garden was his. Even though I do all the work, he always stood by me. I'm located near Boston (in USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot and a backyard vegetable garden. I use sustainable organic methods and try to grow all of my family's vegetables.

Monday, October 11, 2010

cold frame ready for winter

cold frame 4
cold frame 2
cold frame 5 cold frame 3

On Saturday, I cleared out the old plants from my cold frame. I removed the cucumber, melon, squash vines, and a few tomatoes plants.

Then I pulled off the ripped plastic from the sides of the cold frame. A wind storm a month ago had ripped them. My husband and I cut and stapled on fresh side sheets. I checked on the type of plastic and the sides are 4 mil basic plastic sheeting from Home Depot. Its not very transparent, but reflects the light well. The front panel was also quite brittle, though not ripped, after a summer of bright light. It may need reinforcing sooner rather than later. (I think it would be good to use a stronger plastic that lasts better next time we replace this. The sides do not need to be transparent.)

After fixing the sides, my husband and I carried out the top panels that had been stored under a tarp behind the garage for the summer. We reattached the hinges. The plastic on these panels is looking very good. Unlike the sides, this is clear (and I think thinner plastic than the sides.) I like the way it reflects our newly painted green house.

The cold frame now looks ready to fill up with plants again. I have a row of broccoli at the back left and one kale plant at the front right. These are plants from the spring. The broccoli are producing heads again now that its cool. Also I planted a some rows of lettuce and beets at the back right a couple weeks ago. The rest is open soil waiting for plants. I brought down a tray of seedlings that I've had under lights. They had a little disaster last night as they fell over onto the floor, but I think they will be fine once they hydrate and unsquish.

On Sunday morning with the top covers down the temp came up to 60*F and the plants were looking very happy. I propped them open and Skippy and I admired the frame. I bet the lettuce will do well here this fall.

cold frame 1



Anonymous Kristen said...

The cold frame looks great- I may have to build one of those for next year! In the mean time (this is so elementary I feel silly asking) but when you talk about "removing" the old plants from your garden do you mean just cutting off what's above ground or do you dig them up? I'm fairly new to gardening and I can't find anywhere that's specific about what you do with the garden in the fall. Thanks!

October 11, 2010 11:27 AM

Blogger kathy said...

I showed my son how to do this last week. You grab hold of the stem of the plant and tug it out of the ground. Then smack the root ball on the ground a few times to shake the dirt out of it. Then toss the plant on the compost pile.

My son did this with my giant sunflowers that must have had 4 inch diameter stems this year. Enormous! He's big and strong, but a couple plants wouldn't come out and he had to loosen the roots with a shovel a bit. Then of course, they were too big to just throw on the compost pile, so he chopped then into 1-2 foot lengths with clippers.

Its better to get all the old plants onto a compost pile in the fall. You want to get the roots out of the garden too, so don't just chop off the plants at the ground. The old plant material will compost better on a pile. And the heat of a pile will do a better job of killing pathogens.

In the spring, your garden is already clear. You can spread 2 inches of compost, usually the 2 year old pile will be ready to spread (or buy some compost and/or manure). Dig this in (or not) and you're ready to plant.

Have fun!

October 11, 2010 12:06 PM

Blogger Cher' Shots said...

You have a great looking cold frame. I always hate the end of gardening but then again it gives me something to look forward to in the spring.

October 11, 2010 12:23 PM

Blogger kathy said...

My too. I hate the end. I have the unreasonable thought that maybe I can garden all winter in this cold frame. Maybe some day I'll get a green house, though in this area, it would need a lot of power pumped into lights and heat.

October 14, 2010 10:16 PM

Blogger Karen Anne said...

I like to use a pitchfork to get out root balls. It seems easier than a shovel.

October 16, 2010 8:32 PM

Blogger Toni-Shaklee Distributor said...

Kathy, I'm loving your cold frame! Thank you for your post about it!

I want to build some!!! Can't wait to read more about your cold frame plants!

I'm growing greens in my little hoop house this fall.

October 18, 2010 12:28 PM


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