Saturday, April 07, 2007

Garden Journal: April 01-08, 2007

Last weekend we planted a tray of tomato seeds minus 5 pots, which we planted with winter squash. Today I noticed that we have 1/4 inch sprouts coming up in a couple of the pots. So, the seeds were viable despite being over a year old. I'm looking forward to fresh tomatoes and I am really praying that my little sprouts do better than previous years.

We've been using two black plastic compost bins to break down all our kitchen waste. Last fall the bins were almost full from yard waste as well so over the winter, when compost slows down to a crawl, the bins filled up completely. To alleviate that problem this year we built a large 3 x 3 bin this weekend.

We purchased the compost brackets from Lee Valley and used cedar fence planks for the sides. We've placed it near the garden so it gets lots of sunlight and close enough to let us easily remove finished compost into the garden. We plan to use this bin for the grass clippings, raked up leaves and branches, and as an overflow bin for the kitchen waste. Hopefully, we won't need to use it for that since our covered bins will not be filled with masses of grass and leaves.

The experiment with the small greenhouse as a cold frame seems to be working. What little sun we have gotten since we put it over the back half of the raised bed has warmed up the interior by quite a bit. Friday, while it was snowing out, PeterC stuck his hand inside the greenhouse to check things out. The temperature inside the frame was at least 5 degrees warmer than the temperature outside the frame. I suspect that if we could get a full day of sun, the soil inside the frame would warm up much faster than the uncovered soil.

If things progress and I decide this experiment is a success, we will be purchasing at least two more of these little greenhouses when the garden centres open. I can cover one section of each bed and I'll be able to use them not only for planting early but also as a place to put young seedlings until all danger of freeze and frost are over. I also hope to use them to extend my crops into November, especially the lower growing crops like spinach and maybe even lettuce.

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