A few weeks ago, I started the kale, lettuce, and some tomatoes on a window sill in a burst of pre-spring enthusiasm. OK, it was desperation; I couldn’t take winter anymore. So now I have some young kale plants that will need to be clipped for mini-greens because there ain’t no way that the darn plants are going into a cold frame yet.
The problem is, of course, that now is when lots of other things need to be planted, and I am running out of room. There are windows downstairs, but they are already crammed with plants that overwinter indoors. Also, the greenhouse/carving shop has all the over-wintering plants in the way of carving projects, so that’s out.
I’ve cast covetous glances at the windows in my wife’s newly renovated office, but she has already nixed that. It’s hers! All that golden sunshine and no seedlings.
In desperation, I waded into what remained of last week’s snow to see how soon I might resurrect the cold frames. Unfortunately, one is a wreck, the other needs work, and the last one I can save with parts salvaged from the ruined one. On the other hand, these frames are about ten years old, and I am amazed that they’ve lasted this long, so having two still functional is fantastic. Looking back on the last six years, I estimate I should be able to get the frost-hardy kale into them by April one; if I add a remay blanket on top of the frame. For the non-gardener, remay is a lightly spun fabric that acts as an insulation layer on top of the plants. Here in New England, the combination of cold frames, remay, and low hoop tunnels of wire and greenhouse plastic can extend my spring and fall gardening seasons by as much as a month ( with a bit of care and luck).
But here I am on March 20th with too much time left on the clock for getting outside, but needing to start more seeds. If you are a gardener, you know the frustration that develops when your plants are subpar because you began them too late, and they are puny rather than lush and fruitful. In discussions with friends whose plants are vastly more productive, you feel wounded and frustrated and vow to plan carefully for next spring.
Well, here it is, spring, and you’re again behind the eightball.