Cold Frame Sowing and Reaping

Heartened by our success in keeping this spring's salad bed (relatively) unfrozen, Kirk took a look in the mache and spinach cold frame that we planted last fall. It has been a few weeks since we checked it out, with all the snow:

And it looks great! Kirk scratched up the soil, and it is fluffy and light, and not even a little bit frozen. The plants you see are a few left-over spinach plants (and one endive), and they are doing fine. If we just had a little more sun, they'd probably start growing again.

And that got us to thinking that we could probably get new spinach started in that cold frame right now. After all, the soil is great, there's plenty of space, and spinach is quick — 41 days to harvest, according to the seed packet (which is almost certainly very optimistic, but with some luck we may have spinach by Patriots' Day).

So I sowed some spinach seeds in the gaps, gave them a drink, and put the glass back on the cold frame. If you look closely, you can see that the other half of the cold frame we still have quite a bit of mache from our fall planting. Although it had surely frozen at some point when it was really bitterly cold back in January, the mache has somehow managed to stay sweet and sturdy.  

We used it for a Sunday dinner salad, with some grated carrot and (our penultimate) red onion. It was almost like summer, with green salad and crab cakes. Atop the crab cakes is a tartar sauce made with our dill pickle relish (which makes a much better tartar sauce than sweet relish, for the record). We hadn't picked any mache in several weeks, so this salad was pretty exciting. We might have two more salads' worth of mache left outside, and then there will be a lull in the fresh greens until that spinach fills in April. Knowing that made this salad taste extra-special delicious, I think.


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