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Plants in a cold frame

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Plants in a cold frame

Post  littlesapphire on 8/25/2011, 8:59 am

I did a little searching through the forum, but I didn't really find the answers I was looking for.

I'm planning on building a cold frame over one of my boxes, and I was just wondering.... what and how long can I grow in a cold frame? Should I start the seeds indoors first or direct seed outside? Should the plants be almost full grown by the time the first frost hits? I'm very confused by the whole situation.

I was thinking about growing lettuce, radishes, and some very fast growing Chinese cabbage, as well as trying beets and and maybe even small early carrots? I'd like to figure out what I want to grow now so I can order the seeds and have them here before it gets to be too late in the season!
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Re: Plants in a cold frame

Post  quiltbea on 8/25/2011, 9:58 am

This will be my first year growing in fall and winter in my coldframe but I've done lots of research into which plants, etc. This is what I've learned........

You start things from seeds because they are usually greens and radishes. Just sow them in the squares and keep them watered til they germinate. You want to start them well before your first freeze so they are established when it gets cold.

Radishes and certain leaf lettuces, such as Winter Density, are good fall choices. Also try Argula..plant in late Oct and it will yield in winter months; Claytonia...delicious salad leaves, sow in groups in Sept and when large enough, transplant into covered cold frames spaced 6" apart, leaves grow upwards on 4" stems. Mache/corn salad has small, tongue-shaped leaves that are tender and mild-flavored, sow seed Sept thru Nov in cold frame or hoop house 2" apart. Mizuna is mild and delicate with a slight mustard flavor, can be harvested anytime temp is above freezing even if the nite before it was 20 below zero. Tokyo Bekana has bright, light green leaves and good shelf life, does well for baby leaf year-round with winter protection, regrows from multiple cuttings.

Your cold frames need to be well protected from cold. Make sure you line the insides with insulation foam if possible and put a double layer of plastic protection or glass over the top. Layering straw around the outsides of the frame add to its insulation. On a really warm day, lift the cover a bit for air circulation.

I plan to put my coldframe to this good use this fall and have my seeds in preparation. Most of these I've never even tasted before so it'll be a fun experiment.
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Re: Plants in a cold frame

Post  littlesapphire on 8/25/2011, 11:03 am

Thank you Quiltbea! I'll go check into those seeds Smile
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Re: Plants in a cold frame

Post  littlesapphire on 8/26/2011, 8:32 am

I ordered my seeds last night! And I managed to save $17! How did I save $17 you ask? By buying the seeds from parkseed.com instead of burpee.com Shocked I can't believe how much more the same (or nearly the same) seed packets were at burpee! They wanted $30 for 5 seed packets!!

Anyway, I got Toy Choi, a mini Chinese cabbage, a cold hardy lettuce called Green Towers, a beet called Detroit Dark Red, a Daikon radish that takes a long time to grow but is sweet instead of spicy, and a much faster radish called Cherriette Hybrid. I don't know how they'll do, but I'm excited to try!
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