Monday, March 8, 2010

Making a cold frame from old windows and starting plants

Spring isn't officially here yet but I am already a nervouse wreck about the garden.  Last year I felt we got a lot of stuff in to late and did not maximize their growing potential.  This year we have been off to a good start. We already have some lettuce, kale, and cress growing under lights, and are getting ready to start our tomatoes and peppers.  I have also helped a fellow farmer repair his greenhouses in exchange for some plants later in the season.  Starting plants indoors can be stressfull but one way to beat the stress is by not starting them indoors if you do not have to.  Many plants, like summer squash, can be started indoors and you may gain a week or two on harvest but the time and money that can be saved is worth an extra week of waiting for delicious grilled veggies.  With that said we are planting as much seed directly in the garden as we can this year.  This will be benificial in a few ways, first we dont have to worry about starting the plants indoors or buying the plants from someone else, second we will be able to control the harvest better by using successive planting methods, and finally did I mention we dont have to start the plants indoors.  If you do want to get a jump on spring you can also use a cold frame to start plants in the garden before the outside conditions are ideal.  Cold frames can be purchased at garden centers and hardware stores but why not build one yourself.  I buit one with some old storm window frames and a leftover 2x4:

I used some basic tools to measure and cut the 2x4 into six 6" pieces
Then I cleaned up the old window frames and screwed all the pieces together to form box

Then wrapped the top and sides with plastic and stapled it in place and.....

By placing this in the garden now to help raise the ground tempature I will be able to start some plants early directly in the garden. 

As nervous as gardening makes me it is a good nervous. I know that in the end I am providing healthy clean fruits and vegetables for my family, and community.