Saturday, February 6, 2010
First Produce of the Year
It is a very small start, but yesterday we ate our first produce of the new year. It consisted of a little spinach, a few cutting celery leaves, and a little claytonia. It wasn't enough to justify weighing and none of this came from the outside garden. This is Syracuse in February.
The spinach came from seeds that I started indoors in late December to plant into the outside cold frames. The cutting celery and claytonia were started earlier in December as an experiment to see if they would grow. I had tried both of those and mache (corn salad) seeded directly to the garden last year with no success. But they germinated quite well and some were planted into the cold frame on January 22nd and are still sitting there looking a little worse than when planted.
I have finished and set out a second (and larger) cold frame. The soil inside is mostly unfrozen although around the edges it is still pretty solid. I am planning to plant some spinach, leek, and Asian greens tomorrow, if it is sunny. The temperatures are not forecast to go above freezing for the next week and it will be interesting to see how quickly the seeds germinate or if they do. I have been recording the soil and air temperatures inside the first cold frame. The soil temperature, at about three inches deep, has remained above freezing although the outside temperature has been as low as -8 degrees Fahrenheit. In the late afternoon the soil temperature has been in the 40s and the high temperature inside the frame has reached over 80 degrees on two sunny days.
I hadn't planned to extend the season at this end of the season this year but since two cold frames are done there is no point having them just sit around waiting for October. I should learn something that will help next winter.