Member Since: 10/28/2013

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Re: Extend the Seasons with a Cold Frame

Here in Montesano WA an alternative to lettuce in winter is corn salad or feldsalad (German, discovered visiting friends there, fall planted between the vinyard rows for winter salad) many types some over winter some more for summer. Eating some now mid December sown in mid late summer. Mid october sowing (probably should have sown earlier) is 2 leaf stage in the open garden and in an area next to house under a high porch but in the low angle winter sunshine and 4 leafs in the coldframe. I had the mature corn salad and the new sowing under the porch covered with tarps during recent low temps 16 degrees seldom above freezing and two snows over the last week. Temps are expected mostly above 32 for the next week so pulled tarps to give them some light. The tarped and cold frame plants looked great. The open garden plants in amongst the remaining snow looked a little beat up by the cold but should be fine just behind the cold frame and under the deck plants which will work well for harvest timing. Can be used as main salad ingredient or as a supplement to your other greens. Tastes great and gives a different texture to your salad.

Re: Extend the Seasons with a Cold Frame

In Montesano, WA I use cold frame, hoops and plant in the open cold varieties of lettuce usually the red types named after some cold place. Sow in the fall and then transplant for spacing. They are small plants going into winter with just a few leaves. I have seen them coated in ice, temperatures in the teens or covered in a foot of snow thinking they would die but they slowly grow whenever there is enough light and warmth. Light seems to be the biggest issue. When it is cold the leaves lay flat on the soil outside but must be growing roots etc just like the weeds do because they take off as soon as conditions allow. Of course the cold frame produces the first harvests followed by covered and then by the open plants. I also plant green house raised lettuce when the first batches come to the stores usually too early to plant most things here but select the hardier varieties (seem to be varieties with red in leaves) and outplant with plastic liner on soil and may cover with plastic to help them get started. They are next on the table and then start to have other lettuce coming on in the garden from early sowing in cold frame. Best thing is that most of this happens while the slugs and aphids are absent or minimal.

Re: How to Grow Mache (Corn Salad): Spring's First Green

Just had a salad of Feldsalat Valentin 10/27/2013 seed from Germany grown in Montesano, WA. Planted late summer. Had never seen before trip to Germany. Friend said it was traditional there to sow between vinyard rows for winter salad. No slugs or aphids or other pests on it. Just planted some more as edible cover crop for garden and in cold frame, a little late probably but I am hopeful. This will really help fill out the fresh winter vegetable selection with carrots, beets and parsnips available through the winter and spring and the hardy lettuce varieties growing for early spring harvest. Any other ideas out there on winter garden in northern coastal areas with moderate rainy weather but some snow and freezing?