Blog: My Little Farm in Town

My Little Cold Frame 7: Heat Wave and Shade

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chickens aren’t the only living things that need some special care in this heat. My Little Cold Frame is also showing signs of stress. I used to garden for an amazing woman who had an expanse of cold frames that she used (when I knew her) mainly to protect and nurture seedlings of rare varieties of primula. Each frame was fitted with a window screen. The screening provided just enough shade to guard against sun stress.

I chose common garden lattice to protect the plants in my cold frame from too much sun,  because I had it on hand, it is rigid enough to use without attaching to a frame, and easy to store in sections. I found the two pieces I use for the purpose at a garage sale (25 cents each) a couple years ago. I lay the pieces right on top of the frame in place of the window glass. Lettuce and other greens are apt to bolt (flower and form seeds) and become bitter in hot weather, so the cooler I can keep them—the longer I will be enjoying salads from the cold frame.

I also have been watering more often. The south side of my house is not only warmer but also drier than any other side. I sometimes have to water several times time a day during hot weather. I try to harvest first thing in the morning but sometimes break the rule and crisp the cut greens by submerging them in cold water. (I use a salad spinner to get rid of the excess water.)

I’m going to stop writing now and harvest some greens from the frame for supper. We are having chef salads with eggs from our hens and greens from our cold frame.  There’s nothing like a cold supper that doesn’t heat up the house on a hot evening! Begonia


Shade Lattice Open


As you can see, the lattice does let some light in but protects the plants enough that they haven't started to bolt.


I noticed these lattice pieces at a garage sale. I bought them, along with a full sheet of lattice I used immediately in the chicken yard, because I had a feeling they might come in handy someday. My husband is getting more philosophical about the stuff I bring home that he knows he is going to have to store for a while!

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