Thursday, August 21, 2008

Extending the seasons

As a nature observer, I love watching the changing of seasons. The days are definitely getting shorter, the nocturnal symphony is getting quieter, and early signs of fall are signaled by changes in leaf color in tulip poplars, sassafras, and sourwood.

From a vegetable-gardening perspective, though, I'm a bit greedy (even though I'm planting fall crops in earnest now). Not content with the long (three seasons) that I have, I'm figuring that I need to put together the sturdy cedar cold frame that I ordered to replace a flimsy aluminum one I bought a few years ago.

If I was handy with tools, or my gardening companion was (and alas, he's not), I know I could make one myself. But I don't have power saws or fancy drills. My new cold frame, I'm sure, won't look like these high-end English made ones, but the pieces look very sturdy! My idea is to carry over spinach, lettuce, and tenderer salad greens that might otherwise be frosted in our Zone 7b (working on Zone 8) climate, and experiment holding some of them over cold weather (think Elliot Coleman's Four-Season Harvest), an inspirational book, to be sure.

And why don't we have more small greenhouses in the U.S. like this delightful one, in a rectory garden in Southern England?

Inexpensive (for a greenhouse), simple, and not too big.


  1. Your garden is absolutely beautiful. I was inquiring as to where you bought the aluminum raised bed that you said was flimsy.

  2. Oh, thank you so much for your nice comments about our garden. We enjoy it (my gardening companion and me).

    I don't really like to complain about the aluminum cold frame, since it was a reputable company (Charlie's Greenhouse), but it lasted only a couple of seasons -- and it was hard to put together, the translucent fiberglass panels were flimsy, and the design didn't make it easy to move around (that would be compensation for being light-weight), etc.

    The pieces for my new cold frame are much more sturdy-looking, including the panels, but I haven't yet put it together yet! And, now I can't find the instructions....


Please share your thoughts. I enjoy hearing from fellow nature observers, as well as whomever else drops by.

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