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coldframe

Cold-frame.

Patti commented that I should do a cold-frame post.  I’ll tell you about my permanent one and give some tips.  I won’t go into the construction of one because every gardening book I own has directions on how to build a cold-frame and there are 5,342 you tube videos on the same subject.

I made up that number, but there are a lot of videos on cold-frames.

Mine is a bottomless box that is made from 3/4 inch marine plywood and screwed together with outside deck screws.  It was made to fit an old storm window, which died a few years back.  I made the replacement frame and set into it 1/4 inch plexi-glass.  Is everyone wondering where I got the marine plywood??  I ordered it from my plywood wholesaler, I’m a cabinet maker.  I use 3/4 inch marine plywood for toe kick material when there is a water/moisture problem, say in a basement.  I also use it for the 4 inch backsplash sub-strait for a plastic laminate counter top when there is a sink in the counter.  Have you ever seen a plastic laminated vanity top with the backsplash swollen in back of the sink, the laminate falling off and a black mold line where the backsplash sits on the counter?  This is from a particle board sub-strait, marine plywood doesn’t react this way.  I have never painted this cold-frame and it has got to be about 10 years old.  Outside all of the time and buried under snow from the snow-blower because it is right by the driveway.

cold-frame with removable shelves

cold-frame with removable shelves

When the seedling are small I put them on shelves so they are in the sun and not shaded by the box.  As they grow I remove the shelves.  One year my tomato plants were so tall, I had to dig out the dirt in the floor of the frame to lower them enough to close the hinged top.DSCF0002I’ve never lost any plants do to frost in my cold-frame but I have fried most of my tomato plants one year.  I didn’t open the top on a very sunny day and the temperature inside got too hot for the plants.  The outside air temperature wasn’t that high but the sun on the glass topped box was too much.  I prop open the glass top to cool the frame down.  If it is a beautiful day, like today, I just open the frame all the way.  This year, with free-ranging chickens, I have to remember to place a section of wire fencing over the opened frame or the ladies will jump right in and do their thing.  That would not be good.

Potting shed.

Well, I would like to have a potting shed/greenhouse someday.

my potting shed on a really nice day 4/27/13

my potting shed on a really nice day 4/27/13

In my potting shed this afternoon, I was able to thin my lettuce, basil and leek seedlings.  I also potted one sweet potato slip that had roots attached to it, that I cut from my sprouted sweet potato,.  I cut off two more slips that didn’t have any roots and placed them in long-stemmed wine glasses (we are a classy gardener)  till they grow some roots.

thinning seedlings

thinning seedlings

sprouting sweet potato

sprouting sweet potato

slips growing on sweet potato 4/27/13

slips growing on sweet potato 4/27/13

cut off slip with roots

cut off slip with roots

potted slip

potted slip

long stemmed wine glasses with slips

long stemmed wine glasses with slips

And now for the Rabbit.  I have a wild rabbit that calls my back yard home, I think he/she lives under one of my large Rhododendrons.  The chickens and the rabbit seem to tolerate each other pretty well.  Jack will sometimes chase the rabbit off.

chicken watching rabbit from stone wall 4/27/13

chicken watching rabbit from stone wall 4/27/13

as close as it gets

as close as it gets

Does everybody know that if you click on my pictures they should enlarge??

Ed

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This will be the last in this series. Maybe.  In my spot of New England, carpenter ants, come calling every spring and through out the summer.  I have battled them every year I have lived here, which is a few decades.  Everyone worries about termites but I think carpenter ants do more damage in half the time.

Even with a few days that have been warm, I still am using the wood-stove for heat.  I store my kindling in trash barrels outside to keep the wood dry.  When I went to get some from my last barrel, that was against the side of the shed, there were big black carpenter ants in the barrel.  In years past I would have used a couple of bug bombs on them.  Now, I call over the ladies and dump out the kindling.  After kicking the pieces around to reveal the hiding ants I think the ladies got all of them. They will be turning them into my morning breakfast tonight.

They are amazing creatures and so useful.

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searching for carpenter ants 4/25/13

searching for carpenter ants 4/25/13

Tomatoes.  I got a late start with starting my tomato seeds this year, 4/3/13 is when I planted most of them.  Today I transplanted them to two 9-packs.  They look so small.  Will they be ready in 4-5 weeks to go into the garden??  They will be ready, might be small, but they’ll be ready.  I could always go the a garden center and buy a larger plant.  No, I’m too frugal.

Cold-frame 4/25/13

Cold-frame 4/25/13

The tomatoes are in the front tray, the 3 round cookie containers are my original starting pots.  There are more plants in these if I need more.  The back tray has my lettuce and basil on the left, then my leeks and finally my sweet potato slips.  The slips are big enough to be cut off of the potato and potted.  Maybe this weekend.

It is so nice to be playing in the dirt.

Ed

 

chickens preparing the coldframe now that the spinach has been transplanted

chickens preparing the coldframe now that the spinach has been transplanted

my magnolia has been filling the yard with perfume all day

 

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chickens on the rock chickens on the rock

 

there is a worm in this pile of wood-chips,  I saw it!!

there is a worm in this pile of wood-chips, I saw it!!

multi-dibbles,  12 inches square

multi-dibbles, 12 inches square

Multi-dibbles are a planting tool for spacing of seeds or seedlings.  They are 12 inches square with 4 short dowels for 6 inch spacing, 9 short dowels for 4 inch spacing and 16 short dowels for 3 inch spacing.  You just press it into the dirt and plant in the holes.  Move it over and press it again.

multi dibble,  freshly sown garden section and wood-chip walkways

multi dibble, freshly sown garden section and wood-chip walkways

I really like the wood-chip walkways.  With defined walk-ways the garden soil doesn’t get compacted so the plants grow better and the walk-ways don’t turn to mud.  It’s cheaper than making raised beds and being a frugal yankee, I like that.

It is so good to be playing in the dirt.  AND I HAVE 2 SHOOTS OF ASPARAGUS POKING THROUGH THE WINTER HORSE MANURE MULCH.  YEAH!!!!   I know, I’ll need more than 2 for a meal but they are late this year and I’m glad they are making an appearance.  There isn’t anything better than tender asparagus fresh from the garden.  I refuse to buy that rubbery thin stuff they call asparagus in the super-market.

Ed

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