The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Spring Garden Catchup

Dewy spiderwebSpring is in the garden --- we've eaten our third salad of the season, are eying the asparagus shoots we're not allowed to eat this year, and are watching the first peas twine up out of the ground.  Meanwhile, I transplanted the broccoli and cabbage seedlings we started indoors into a cold frame, wishing I'd started them there from the beginning.

Results of our sunken cold frame experiment

Our sunken cold frame experiment is ready to analyze --- no hard data, but these photographs speak for themselves.  The lettuce in the normal height part of the bed is about a week ahead of the lettuce in the sunken portion.  I guess that light, not temperature, is the limiting factor for lettuce in the early spring.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Hey Anna,

I'm slowly working my way through the archives. I don't have any experience with pit gardening myself, but while the sunken bed may indeed shelter your lettuce from harsh winds, it will actually catch and trap cold air (whereas cold air will flow off of a raised bed). I imagine the lower light in a sunken bed is also a factor, like you said, but temperature is probably still playing a role.

Comment by Wayde Lawler Tue Jun 12 14:18:16 2012
Oh, I forgot, can you remember if you noticed a difference in when the two different sections of the bed germinated? If the sunken was later than the raised that would lend support to the temperature argument since germination doesn't require light.
Comment by Wayde Lawler Tue Jun 12 14:20:26 2012
Wayde --- Excellent point. I've learned a lot more about the importance of soil temperature in the past year, but, unfortunately, at that time, I didn't know anything about it. And my memory of germination is very scanty. So, no data, but I suspect you could be right about temperature playing a major role.
Comment by anna Tue Jun 12 17:05:59 2012

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