It's only 27 degrees out, but forecast to reach the upper 50s, so this morning is a waiting game.
These guys would like to get out for a bit:

Seed starting is in its highest production right now, and as you can see, it's not really much to look at.

That's kind of the point though, it doesn't take a whole lot to do this.  Two shoplights, some planning, seeds, one bag of soil (in the tub below).   This is a large quantity of the veggies we will be eating this year:  all my tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, onions (fingers crossed!)  Plus herbs, greens, brassicas.  And this is more than enough--I have spares in case of calamity and to give away.

These guys would all like to be out here, and will be once the air warms up a bit (yes, that's frost on the grass--and it snowed yesterday!).

We built this coldframe last year and it is a truly awesome compliment to our minimal light set up. I do end up hauling plants in and out a bit, though the cold tolerant stuff just stays out on warmer nights.  I also do have a Univent that opens the lid as the day gets warm.  I wouldn't have invested in one except that I found it brand new at a garage sale (epic score!).  Now I know they are well worth it for the ability to trust that things won't be fried when I'm not home. And the plants are happier and healthier with real sunlight.

In those hoops (there's another not shown) are more food--greens, and broccoli/cabbage I planted a wee bit early.  Another benefit of small-scale production:  All we really need for 2 people is 6-9 broccoli plants.  So I can plant out half of those and risk their lives for an early harvest.  It's easy to baby-sit a few plants with row cover and some plastic...and if I fail there are replacements inside, taking up all of 9 square inches of space in a flat. If these do live, the remainder will be planted which will spread my harvest out a bit. 

So it doesn't have to be a huge production, or a high tech investment.  Experiment, take a few risks, and go plant some peas this week.

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  1. You put my tray of mixed goodies to shame! Some day I'll be where you're at but for now I'm starting small and will probably still end up buying some bedding plants. You make it look so easy though; it's very inspiring.

  2. shoot I replied and it's gone...

    Anyway it's definitely a gradual process, we started a LOT smaller and didn't start seeds for several years. And I still supplement with bedding plants if I have a failed batch of seeds or see a cool variety.

    And the obsessive season extending stuff came much later, ha.

  3. I'd love to learn more about the cold frame you made, it looks good!

  4. Thanks! I'll take a few pictures and put up the details. It's based roughly on a design from the Oct/Nov 2000 issue of Kitchen Gardener, which I picked up at a used book store!

    The slight curve on the lid is probably not necessary but we thought it looked kind of elegant! :)


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