Monday, April 13, 2009

Cold Frame Gardening in April?

It's mid-April and it was 64 degrees today, so perhaps it is about the end of the cold frame season. Nonetheless, I finally got some plants underneath my cold frame. I transplanted the spinach and mustard, and also planted some swiss chard, lettuce and more spinach. Even though the cold frame season is probably coming to an end in most of the country, here in North Dakota we could easily have another cold snap or two. None of that matters anyway. My beaming pride would have forced me to stubbornly put the cold frame in the garden even if it had been 90 degrees.

So far the transplants don't seem to be any worse for the ware. It will take a few days for the roots to begin venturing out and then I'll see some new growth. In this picture you can see the mustard in the back and the spinach in the foreground. You can also see the Univent automatic vent opener that I installed. I ordered it from this company. It is temperature sensitive and expands and contracts with the heat and cold cycles of each day. It was a little spendy, but I'm not home during the day to manually vent the cold frame to keep the sun from scorching the plants.

Upon strolling through the newly snowless garden, the wife spotted something interesting. Something green. These are a couple of spinach plants that didn't get out of the garden before the snow flew last fall. Now that the snowy blanket has lifted, they have emerged and almost look lively. I'm going to monitor them to see if they start growing again. If they do, it will give me great hope for winter gardening. Even in zone 4!


  1. With that automatic window, you should only have to worry that they get too crowded or too tall. It looks like a nice set up. We were 41 degrees and raining all day.It felt cold here in Iowa and they think it will get down to 32 tonight so you might be cold outside the cold frame tonight. I have never grown spinach but you are inspiring me.

  2. I'm sure here in ND, we are still in for some cold nights. Last year is the first year I grew my own spinach, and I will never go back to store bought. It has so much flavor. If you like salad at all, I would highly recommend it. I can't remember the variety we grow off the top of my head, but I would imagine any variety grown at home is going to be better than the store bought stuff (at least where I live). Good luck to you!