Friday, March 6, 2009


After surviving the last couple of nights with the outside temps in the single digits, the cold frames took some serious heat yesterday. The square foot garden frame took the brunt of it, reaching 90 degrees at 2 pm, when it was 55 and sunny outside. The other frame was already in the shade at that point and only registered 62. When it hit 90, Sarah removed the two ends to give it a little air. By the time I got home from work it was back in the 60s.

I spent some time in the garden after work, exposing the sq foot garden for the first time since I planted it about a week or so ago. As the headline to this post suggests, we had some death. The cabbage is the worst off. We lost at least 3 possibly 4 of the 6 cabbage seedlings. The lettuce also took a hit. One of the Seedlings ripped off when I was removing leaves. The spinach and onions look great. There was no sign of any seeds making their way to the surface. I will likely replant the dead squares this weekend. Question: What killed the cabbage? Was it the cold or the heat. I am guessing heat. The cabbage in frame #2 (only got to 62 degrees) looks just better, but still not beautiful.

The other frame didn't have any death. The stuff in there looks pretty good. It is possible that I saw one pak choi sprout, but that is as of yet unconfirmed. May be a weed. But something sprouted, which should be celebrated regardless of the plant.

I moved all the finished black gold compost to the sun garden, in anticipation of some serious compost reshuffling this weekend. The black gold looks ok - still pretty chunky, but plenty good enough to spread. The middle section of the compost bin needs a redesign. My little funky temporary center support to hold it together is not working as I hoped. I will have to screw a middle support permanently in place to hold it all together.

Early morning activity: My rowing plans were cancelled by some rough water, so I worked in the yard this morning. I planted 4 romaine seedlings in the sq foot garden to replace a dead cabbage. I replaced another dead cabbage with 16 radish seeds. Two other dead cabbage were replaced with Brocolli seeds. Two cabbage seedlings remain in the sq foot garden out of an orginal planting of 6. They are sickly looking, but may survive. I am willing to give them a couple more days.

In the back yard cold frame, I did the following:
  1. Brought out Beet Planter and Carrot Planter, burried the pots a little in the dirt and surrounded them with leaves. It is mild (55 degrees) and cloudy today, so I thought they could start to harden off outside. I added one beet seed to this planter, which had a vacant spot.
  2. Planted 4 geraniums.
  3. Removed leaves from inside of cold frame, added good soil and planted 35 onion seedlings.

I left this cold frame with a 4 inch air gap at the top to allow for some air flow today. The sq foot garden, I left uncovered. I watered everything I planted today with compost tea.

On my way to work I hit Sandy Creek Supply for a 1/2 ton of mushroom manure and one cube of peat moss. It is amazing to me that peat moss costs almost as much as musroom manure. I probably shouldn't have bought it, but I do want to make my own seed starting mix for next year, so I need it at some point. I plan to add finely screened compost to it and put it in a black plastic bag to cook over the summer. Should be sterile seed starting mix for next year.

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