Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Coldframes and Mulch Gardening...The Way the Cool Kids Are Doing It.

Today, Chris and I put together a cold frame and planted some seeds! We have officially started our first year on the Homestead! 

Since we moved here to Southwestern Washington, we have just been absolutely, positively, pleased as punch at the weather. Sure it rains a lot, but the temperatures and the seasons just have us tickled pink. Chris gets so excited about growing things here! It's just stunning for him. Since we would love to have produce from our garden as long as we can, we are trying our hands at some of the tools that other gardeners have been using for years, in order to extend our growing season; Cold Frames and Mulch Gardens

Last fall we began our preparations for this years garden, by installing a lasagna-style, mulch garden bed. We are going to have a class on this in March, so you'll have to wait till then for an in depth tutorial, but suffice it to say that we laid down cardboard, then layered compost/fertilizer and hay on top of that. 

Mulch beds are great for a couple of reasons. First, and foremost, mulch beds don't have to be watered as often as traditional beds. The mulch helps to retain the moisture of the soil beneath. Chris loves this. In fact, I think it's probably his favorite fact about mulch gardening. I think that that comes from growing up in high desert climates. ;-) 

Another great fact is that they don't have to be weeded as often, if at all. Laying the cardboard down first shades out all the weeds and grass, etc. Plus, if any weeds do find their way into your garden, the mulch provides a loose top layer that is easy to pull weeds out of!

Again, Chris and I are going to have a workshop in March where we will show you how to make a mulch bed like ours. Please stay tuned for more info, participate, and help us to be successful!

Another tool we now have in our tool belt is a really cool cold frame.  Chris kept talking about finding someway to start our seeds early, and he kept volunteering my kitchen table! So, of course, I had to figure out another way to make him happy with out relinquishing any of my indoor space. Last year we were given some windows for free. We have 12 or 13 windows, most of which are 36inx55in. I came up with the idea of "somehow building a frame with all of the lumber we have for the windows where we could put two windows together like an a-frame house." Chris is the one who executed my somewhat vague idea! He was fantastic. The kids even helped!

Cold frames are great. They can allow you to start your growing season 4 to 6 weeks early, and they can help you to protect your plants during the first few frosts in fall. That means more food from the garden for pennies! If you want an in depth tutorial on how to create cold frames like ours, please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!

All in all, the new year is off to a good start.