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How to Plant A Cold Frame for Winter Harvest

lettuce in cold frame

With the warm August days, it is hard to imagine eating fresh spinach out of your snow-covered cold frame right now. However, August and September is the time to plant cold frames in order to have a winter harvest.

The idea is to get plants started in late summer and growing through the fall so that when the days shorten after Halloween they are at a harvest size for the cold dark winter months.

Plants can be started from seed or transplant but the key is to select cold hardy varieties such as lettuce, spinach, carrots, arugula, radishes, broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, miner’s lettuce and corn salad. Although these plants thrive in the cool season of spring and fall, the cold frame provides extra protection from the dehydrating chilly winds of winter as well as helps moderate temperature and soil moisture fluctuations so that they can persist for your eating pleasure when everything else is bleak in the garden.

I guarantee that when you open the cold frame on a clear frosty December morning and find a bed full of fresh greens you will feel like you have some sort of magic food box!

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