14 April 2016

tucked in

With so many seedlings potted up, keeping them in proper temp range becomes a challenge, running out of space an issue. The coldframe house is now quite full. The other night I used up every single flat tray I had, to shuttle all the tender ones indoors after dark. Soon the nights will be warmer (I'm looking at the forecast) but in the meantime, it really is a pain to get them all in/out of the coldframe every night/morn. So I tried something else. I wrap my coldframe house in blankets and sheets for the night.
It looks really silly. But if an upturned bucket or sheet can keep a freeze from damaging my plants, wouldn't an extra layer protect them in the coldframe as well? As an experiment, I still brought most of them in at dark the first time, but left out the tougher plants (broccoli, mock strawberry) and a few of the tender ones (extra coleus) to see how they fare. As a control group, I even put a few coleus out of the coldframe in the naked air, to see if the night chill really would kill them anyways. Yeah, one of my favorite plants became a test subject, just because I have so many of them in little pots now.

And it worked. Temps were in the low thirties, plants unharmed. I'm not taking too many chances- I'm still shuttling in/out the tomato seedlings, peppers, basil, summer savory, tithonia and sage. That's only two flats which fills two sun-facing windowsills, so it's manageable. All the onions, marigold, nasturtiums, bigger perennials (still not pictured here, sorry!) etc stay out under the extra cover. Seem to suffer no harm.
I have found that a few of the perennials I already planted are more tender than I thought. Astilbe has foliage shrinking from the cold at night. But the core of the plant is still alive, and soon the lowest night temps will be in the forties, next week lower fifties, so I think it will be fine.

My husband says "you have a lot of plant stuff going on right now!" He hasn't seen me so busy with seedlings and gardening before. I told him yeah- it's spring- they need more attention and care. I don't want my garden to fail again this year!

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