Sunday, January 13, 2008

Spring is a-comin' - Let the chores begin!

I know spring is springing soon because the snowdrops are in bloom. I took a flower's-eye view of the first blossoms of 2008 in my front garden. There were a few violets, too, a bit worn from the spate of bad weather, but with a certain rugged, "I don't care if it's January, I'm blooming, okay?" look about them.

After a thick morning fog, the sun came out briefly, and the rain held off, so I could actually get some work done. Among my tasks was setting out the cold frame. There's a mostly sunny spot in the front, with some shrubby conifers backing it, where the frame fit well, so I dug up the soil, added the last bag of cheap discount-store potting mix from the carport (lousy potting soil, but okay for making clay soil a bit lighter), and after setting the frame in place, raked loose mulch and leaves around it to add some insulation.

The bushy pine behind it got a severe cutting back, since it was sprawling all over the place. Not something I planted -- it came with the house. I left a single leader, and I'll see if I can train it better. Once the frame was in place, I planted my lettuce seedlings that I started a while back:

The bottles of water are heat sinks. And if the temperature drops below freezing, they'll release small amounts of heat as they freeze, protecting the seedlings. Of course, it would also help if I put a blanket of Reemay or bubble wrap over the seedlings if frost threatens.

And this? No, it's not an encampment for the Grand Order of Garden Elves:

It's a pair of tunnel cloches for my little kale plants. I used Gro-Therm Perforated Film over hoops of thin bamboo for a little protection from the weather. I've used it with overwintered lettuce before, though the lettuce needed more protection in frosty weather (which I supplied with a large sheet of bubble wrap, an office discard). Kale, which is a lot more frost-hardy, should do fine.

A little Sluggo sprinkled around will keep marauding slugs in check. In a couple of months, I should have some fresh garden greens. Yay!

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