World Planting Day has arrived!
Ironically, so has the end of “growing season” for many climate zones…
Or has it?
You’ve invested lots of time and energy into your garden, planting and harvesting all of those summer squashes, leafy greens and juicy fruits, and (hopefully) it paid off!
There are little phenomena in life as rewarding as watching a seed you stuck in the ground come to life as a beautiful and delicious source of nutrition.
Now, with winter right around the corner, many climates will be in frost territory, posing an icy threat to their precious fruits and vegetables.
But what if you’re just not ready to give up on your garden for the year?
Enter: THE COLD FRAME!
A cold frame is a simple structure that utilizes solar energy and insulation to create a microclimate within your garden... Think of it like a miniature greenhouse!
Installing one of these bad boys is the easiest and most economical way to extend your harvest, and can even potentially maintain your garden all year long. There is a knack to the game, however.
We’ve outlined some keys to successful growing in the winter:
Don’t Be Too Picky With Your Vegetables
While cold frames can do wonders for many crops, there are some that inevitably won’t make the cut.
That is to say; no matter how much ~good energy~ you send its way, you won’t have a sun-kissed strawberry or vine-ripened tomato sprouting up in the middle of January in New England.
Some veggies you can try cozying up to are carrots, spinach, lettuce, brussel sprouts, leeks, scallions, and other “chill-resistant” plants.
Keep it Hot, But Not too Hot
Sometimes the cold frame can be a little too good at keeping your plants toasty warm, especially if your area is no stranger to an occasional unseasonably warm streak in the colder months.
Watch out - you don’t want them to cook before you harvest them!
A good rule of them is keeping the temperature at a balmy 60 degrees Fahrenheit (around 15 degrees Celsius) or below.
One way you can ensure this is by installing temperature-activated ventilating arms to regulate the heat in there.
Follow the Light… and Guide it to Your Plants!
Whether you live in the country or you’re a city dweller, there are factors that could be inhibiting your garden from getting the proper sunlight it deserves to flourish.
Surrounding trees or buildings could be getting in the way, and there’s not much you can do about that.
However, here are a few tricks to harness the bit of light you are receiving to the fullest:
Use Aluminum Foil - Reflect more light onto your plants by lining the walls of the cold frame with foil! An alternative is simply painting the internal walls white for a more mild effect.
Keep it Clear - This might sound obvious, but it’s worth mentioning that you should ensure the top of your cold frame is kept free of any leaves, snow, or debris that might accumulate.
If you find your garden is still getting too cold overnight, try this clever pro tip. It's less about light itself, and more about capturing available heat in general:
Make DIY Hot Water Bottles - Paint a gallon water jug black and make room for it beside your plants in the AM. Allow it to absorb heat during the day and release it throughout the night, taking the edge off those bitter winter nights.
So, there you have it!
With a mighty cold frame and a little TLC, you can maintain your sustainable and budget-friendly farm-to-table culinary lifestyle all year, no matter where you may reside.
Be sure to supplement your healthy eating by staying hydrated this winter- a season notorious for sneaky dehydration catalysts like dry conditions and subdued thirst.
It's chilly out there! Keep yourself cozy with a hot drink in your BEAST while you're tending to your bumper veggie crop this winter...
Make hydrating easy and convenient with help from our line of reusable stainless steel, BPA and toxin-free drinkware!
The Greens Steel BEAST Tumbler and our Insulated Water Bottles will be the perfect sidekicks to all your winter adventures- Keeping your hot drinks hot all day, so you can potter in the garden to your heart's content without feeling the frost!
Happy harvesting this chilly season,
Greens Steel Wellness Contributor