A Gardener’s Diary: Cold frames are a must

Jocelyne Sewell offers some tips for growing in cooler weather, starting with a cold frame

In my last column I mentioned that broccoli plants should be spaced 12 inches or five cm from each other. I had a couple of emails about it. It should have read 12 inches or 30 cm. Sorry about the mistake. My proofreader didn’t catch it but since it is hard to get good manpower, he still has his job.

Spring came so fast, bringing the heat, so some of the flowers that should be blooming in May are already at their best. They are, however, begging for rain. I had to use the water from the tap to do all my beds last weekend, as my 11 rain barrels are already empty. I hope we have a good snow pack as we might be in trouble if the pattern keeps on.

With this wonderful weather, my garden has been bursting with colours. I would say that I might have about 1,000 tulips, and the scent of hyacinths is filling the air. The lilac is open and everything is beautiful, especially the different shades of green in the trees.

Last August I wrote about finding some pea weevils in my harvest. I cleaned them up the best I could and stored them in the freezer for some weeks. The reason the peas can still germinate is that the weevils only eat a certain part of the seeds. I have five varieties of peas growing now and they are all doing well. I transplanted some and added to the rows and all are up now. On one of the pregerminated tests, I got a 95 per cent success. I will keep an eye on them as they grow

I have always emphasized the importance of rain barrels and composters. Now I have to add cold frames to the list. When we changed the windows in the house, I made sure to keep the old ones. Tom built frames out of old lumber big enough to accommodate the window. I have three windows on both of them and the third one is the size of a metal storm door (from a friend) which can be lowered at different levels because the door is attached to the wooden fence with a chain.

Last fall I transplanted some lettuce which was growing where I shred the compost. All but two of the many seedlings survived the winter under the closed door. They started growing again in early March and now we are eating some of the best tender lettuce that I ever grew. My other cold frames can be used now for anything. I have dahlias in one of them and will put some tomato plants in the other. If the nights get cooler, I just have to close the windows.

You can get a jump on the growing season by adding a cold frame to your yard. Google: building a cold frame and you will have all kinds of pictures. See www.almanac.com/content/cold-frames-gardening for good information.

This year I will have an early plant sale on Saturday. Just watch the ad under Garage Sale in this Friday’s edition of The Morning Star.

For more information: 250-558-4556 or plantlady1@shaw.ca

Jocelyne Sewell is an organic gardening enthusiast in the North Okanagan and member of Okanagan Gardens & Roses Club. Her column appears every other Wednesday.



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