EXTEND YOUR GROWING SEASON: If you are in an area with a short growing season, like we are, you might want to extend your growing season by using cold frames, or cold frame wannabes.
Many years ago, in our last house we used the PVC pipe for hoops and covered it with plastic, an easy DIY project that worked very well. Where we live now, we have a lot more wind and we don’t feel that is a good option for us. So…. ‘overbuilder’ husband is mulling it over and I’m sure he will come up with the perfect cold frame. Our plan now is to build one by fall in the raised bed against the house without a fruit tree growing in it. We are planning some winter vegetable growing. If that works out well, we will add more cloched areas next spring.
Cloches really do advance the progress of seeds and starts by warming the soil and protecting them against excessive rain, wind, snow and critters.
I planted these 4 cabbage starts and cloched just one. You can see by the photo that the cloched cabbage is bigger.
But in the mean time here are a few D.I.Y. Ideas for cloches we use all around the garden, mostly on the most prized perennials.
Old glass light fixtures: I buy them at garage sales, remove all the electrical parts and set them over the plants that need protection. I most commonly use them in the shade garden in the spring and fall.
* Be cautious about using these in sunny areas. You could burn your plants! I just burned a leaf on my prized podophyllum 😦
Plastic storage bins: I happen to find these used without the lids for $5.00. We did have to weigh them down with rocks on a few windy days. They are almost as wide as the bed and stack when not being used.
I have seen people use plastic drink bottles or the large plastic milk bottles. I haven’t tried using those but if you have them around, give them a try. Google ‘bottle cloches’ (images) for more ideas than you will know what to do with.
MAKE YOUR GARDEN A PLACE YOU WANT TO GO!
Just because it is a kitchen garden it doesn’t need to be dull. Make it fun, make it artistic, add things that are beautiful and make you smile or laugh or just want to sit and stay a while.
I had a bunch of leaf tiles left over from a mosaic project in our entry. (We made hundreds of tiles and had a lot left over. – That is a great story for another day) anyway….. while the concrete was setting up, I put some into many of the raised beds.
You can add birdbaths, windchimes, glass flowers, concrete cast leaves. (that is something I learned to do last year and have used a lot in our gardens. More on that later.)
Just for fun, we added a crow to the fence. We had seen these at the Seattle Garden Show and we were just waiting for the right place to put one. It is from the Abraxis Crow company. We love his work and have several of his owls also.
Recently a local nursery went out of business, we bought a display tree from them and are working it into a smaller and higher raised bed. That has really turned out to be a big project. Photos later. 🙂
I’m planning a chair with a pretty, comfy pillow where I can watch things grow and admire my husbands hard work. Thanks to him for making wild wild imaginings come to life! Have fun and make your kitchen garden a fun and beautiful place to go.
Keep on growing!