Framed

The long weekend gave plenty of opportunity to get out into the garden, including two welcome days of mostly-sunshine.Β  The wind was icy despite the sun’s best attempts, but there was a sense of exhilaration working in its strong blasts.

Newly mulched raspberry rows and beech hedge

After weeding the raspberry patch, and digging out the wayward canes springing up between rows to give to a relative, I found it gratifying to accentuate the newly re-defined rows with a thick spread of mulch, the remains of which I also spread across the feet of our young beech hedge. The mulch originated from the shredded branches of last year’s pruning, left to rot all year in the shade of the boundary plum trees. As I dug out spadefuls of the lovely crumbly mulch, it was pleasingly full of fat wriggling worms.

Digging the vegetable garden

The most satisfying tasks are often those with immediate visual impact, another of which was my start at digging over the vegetable beds ready for this year’s planting. While I turned over the soil, pulling out the creeping buttercup and grass and other weeds that were already insinuating their way across the ground, King of the Hill was deep in the midst of construction work on the lawn.

Constructing a cold frame

Our first serious project for the new growing season was to construct and install a cold frame, to give our crops a head start, protected from the wind and the lowest temperatures. After several hours of hard work, the proposed site was prepared and the initial framework built. We staggered up the garden with the partial structure, which King of the Hill then completed in position with the aid of some reclaimed greenhouse glass, weighted down with stones overnight for the sealant to set.

Newly built cold frame

To accommodate this new – and rather handsome – structure, as well as clearing the weeds, I had to dig up the cavalo nero which were in flower (stripping off all the young leaves to take up to the kitchen), along with most of the standing leeks. We’ll be eating a lot of leeks this week, but I don’t think that will be a problem!

Home grown leeks

The following day, the stones were removed and the frame was leveled further to compensate for the slight incline of the garden. We’re really pleased with the cold frame, which is fairly sizeable (its shortest dimension being just under a metre and a half) with plenty of space to hopefully provide some early crops protected from the worst of the weather.

Home made cold frame

And doesn’t it look professional? King of the Hill has done us proud! The panels are easy to slide sideways to give air flow (hinged or propped open lids would be dangerous here with our winds) though we are thinking of alternatives to automate this more as the temperatures grow. We’ll leave the ground to warm up this week, then sow our first seeds in here at the weekend. He’s already thinking about making another unit if this one is successful here…

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18 thoughts on “Framed

    • πŸ™‚ It wasn’t too bad actually, while we were moving about – the work kept us warm even when the sun took a rest. Although my husband did pop in to put his ski thermals on under his gardening clothes when he got chilly… I just spent an hour sowing seeds in the greenhouse which warmed me up!

  1. I’m jealous now. That (massive) coldframe is way better than the rubbishy little thing from Botanico that I have… I bet it will be used a lot!

    • I must confess I’m rather excited about it. Your coldframe does its job too, though, and you have all those lovely raised beds as well…

    • I’m not sure it would look at all so good if I had to build it either – though I was called in to work out the angles :). Really thrilled with it.

  2. It was beautiful here as well this weekend and the first two days that working in the garden was a real pleasure. I found materials at the recycle store and I plan on building a cold frame similar to the one you constructed. Your results are a real inspiration.

    • Great minds…! Good luck with your cold frame, look forward to seeing the results. Let’s hope we have plenty more good gardening weekends to come now.

  3. Pallets rule OK! A great job by King of the Hill and the Angle Measurer! It’s so satisfying making things like this yourself – and I also share your satisfaction in spreading your own mulch or compost and creating an immediate impact as well as sharing all those juicy worms! What a satisfying day all round!

    • For once I think we built something without incorporating bits of wooden pallets :). Though we did repurpose the wood that previously supported the strawberry planters on the woodstore roof, along with other leftover pieces and some new supplies. The weekend’s work was definitely satisfying, hope you had a lovely break too.

  4. Very impressive coldframe and I agree adding mulch makes everything look so much better.

  5. wow that’s a seriously great cold fame, I’d be excited too!
    I too find doing warm work like digging best in this cold weather, you are braver than me as I don’t go out when the wind is blowing more than a breeze, Frances

    • I certainly couldn’t complain about getting too warm, my hat didn’t come off even when I was working in the greenhouse… I don’t mind working in the wind when it’s sunny too, it feels like blowing the cobwebs away, quite refreshing.

  6. What a professional looking coldframe – King Of The Hill has talent and could go into full scale production. You hit the nail on the head with your comment about jobs that have immediate visual impact πŸ™‚

    • He’s done a great job. It is pleasing to see immediate results from some tasks, particularly as gardening is often such a long-term activity.

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