A Garden Experiment

I’ve attempted palm trees and bananas, the usual carnivorous plants, and a whole host of tropical and temperate unknowns indoors. In short, I’ve done everything I could imagine to create a longer growing season. I live in New England, where the definition of an outdoor growing season can be brief.

I generously extend my growing season with low metal hoops covered with remay fabric, fold frames, and mini-greenhouses. If conscientious, I extend the growing season into December for cold-tolerant crops and harvest fall-planted spinach from the cold frames in March. The above depends on a carefully planned planting schedule, cooperating weather, and luck.

This year I am experimenting with an elevated planting bed. Frankly, gardening on my knees is not the pleasure it once was, and these cedar planting boxes were reasonably priced and seemed a worthwhile experiment. After planting with various herbs, onions, and peppers, I went one further step. Over the beds, I placed heavy gauge steel wire and a guide rope. I plan to experiment with making this into a large elevated cold frame come the fall. I’ll secure remay fabric to the wire in late September and extend the fall growing season. After the onions are harvested, and the non-performing pepper plants are pulled, I’ll transplant seedling lettuce, mustard greens, and Spinach into the bed. With proper timing and luck, I’ll have some late fall and early winter salad makings.
I’ve found that some varieties of Spinach will over winter if carefully protected, so enjoying April spinach is possible.

But I’m not waiting till fall for a harvest. I’ve already cut basil and took an early harvest from the sage, thyme, oregano, marjoram, and parsley this week. By September, most of these will be ready for significant clippings.

I’m considering more of these units. Weeding is a breeze with no kneeling, and a wide variety of plants can be grown in them. I am looking forward to attempting cukes and tomatoes in them.

Here are my howevers: only a few years of use will tell me how durable the units are. And before filling with soil, be very careful with placement. Even if you buy models with casters, they would be very hard and awkward to relocate.

I’ll post a fall update on this year’s garden experiment.

9 Replies to “A Garden Experiment”

  1. Wow! And you’re lucky to love gardening enough to experiment (especially in this area of the country — crop-growing here seems a bit like trying to beat the odds in horse-racing!).

  2. I miss my garden and like you, the bending down or kneeling got to be troublesome. Portland had a wonderful growing season. There really is a very short one here so even our farmers market has nothing to put into a salad! Can you imagine that? I miss fresh herbs but I have no growing space here. You have quite the set up there. Love it. Keep taking care of yourself with that good homegrown produce.

  3. It’s sounds interesting and fun! Besides the cold creeping up, I find once the daylight hours diminish it is hard to keep plants going.

    1. That’s why I try to get a “third season” by using the coldframes, and steel hoops covered by remay spun fabric. sometimes I can keep things going into early December.

  4. Looking for the fall update.
    I find gardening very calming, it helps me to connect with the surroundings.

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