Have you ever tried overwintering Lettuces and Scallions in a coldframe over a heated pond?
How about growing salad greens in windowbox liners?
These experiments are new to me as of last spring, and they've been pleasantly successful, thus far. I'm breaking this series into three parts:
- Part I: Growing salad greens in windowbox liners;
- Part II: Construction of the coldframe; and
- Part III: Successes, failures, and miscellaneous observations.
So, Part I: Growing salad greens in windowbox liners: you know, those portable, lightweight troughs you can buy and place in your windowboxes for planting ornamentals ... windowboxes that make your windows look extra snazzy and give your house lovely curb appeal ...
Turns out, the liners make great planting mediums for salad greens, too. You can add rich, healthy potting soil and compost to give your seeds a boost. And you can start the seeds early in the season and move the troughs in and out, as needed, as the temperatures fluctuate. It's similar to raised-bed gardening, but with the additional benefit of being portable--an especially great option for those of us with shorter growing seasons and "surprise" spring and fall frosts and freezes.
I planted 'Mesclun Mix' Lettuce seeds last spring, with Scallions (Onion sets) planted around the perimeter to repel critters. I watched them sprout quickly, then harvested many cuttings through the summer, clipped them down to the base in the fall, and overwintered them in coldframes above our heated pond.
|In Part II, I'll describe how the fishman constructed this mini-coldframe on top of our pond.|
(The fishman gets the kudos for coldframe construction!)
|Lettuce rosettes, as seen through the plastic and condensation of the coldframe.|
They survived! They remained in a state of perpetual rosette through the winter as the temperatures hovered around 32F to 45F.
|A new blog topic? "How to grow moss in a coldframe."|
(Turns out, these are excellent conditions for growing moss, as well. In this case, I'm considering it a cover crop for my salad greens.) Once the temperatures warmed in April, I moved the trays into the sun, watched the plants grow, and started clipping greens for salads again.
A couple of weeks ago, I also planted 'Tuscan Baby Leaf' Kale and 'Peppermint' Swiss Chard seeds in additional troughs, placed directly in the garden.
We've already thinned the seedlings, and harvested some baby Kale!
Next in this series: Construction of the coldframe. But first, Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on May 15!
To see what other gardeners are growing this season, check out the Dear Friend and Gardener virtual garden club.