Cold Frames, Kim Chee, and Lawns 2 Lettuce 4 Lunch

| 12/31/2011 1:39:32 PM

seedlings in straw bale cold frames

The weather has been so unseasonably warm that I feel like my quick cold frame gardening experiment was rigged. As you may remember from my 12/10/2011 post we built some new cold frames from stuff laying around the farm. We then direct seeded into the strawbale cold frame and transplanted into the wood and glass frame on Nov 28. I was expecting really slow growth but with all the warm weather the lettuce is bursting out of the glass topped frame and it seems like every seed germinated in the strawbale cold frame. The plants are small but sturdy and growing well. I planted thickly expecting lower germination rates based on the temperature charts in Nancy Bubel’s  The New Seed Starters Handbook . Growth in both cold frames and our greenhouses is continuing at a rapid pace. Maybe we’ll skip the Persephone days this year and be like our gardening friends along the coast and in the lower south who just keep growing all winter.

lettuce in wood cold frames 

Since I actually do think we will get some wintry weather soon, yesterday we harvested the last heads of Michihili and Wong Bok Chinese cabbage as well a bucket of Daikon and Black Spanish winter radishes. We’ll use both to make more Korean style Kim Chee. I’ve been trying a number of different recipes. So far my favorites are from Maangchi (available online) and Sandor Katz’s cookbook  Wild Fermentation. Sandor’s method is the most adaptable to different vegetables, but Maangchi offers a more authentic traditional version. Both are good. Taking the time to buy or grow Korean ground red pepper flakes is definitely worth the effort.

jars of homemade kim chee

For all of you who are thinking about how to bring fresh grown food and gardening into your schools I want to share this short post from our Southern Exposure Blog that highlights what can be done. I’d love to hear about your successes creating school and community gardening partnerships.

“We love hearing about how our seeds are growing, but were particularly delighted to have an update from Joan Horwitt, who founded the Lawns 2 Lettuce 4 Lunch initiative in Arlington, Virginia. Joan writes: "We’ve had fun using the great variety of lettuce seeds from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange for our school and community collaboration, LAWNS 2 LETTUCE 4 LUNCH. We’ve added a variety of SESE greens and garlic . . . and a great fall harvest of sweet potatoes."

She also shared a video from Arlington Public Schools on the Reevesland-Lawns 2 Lettuce 4 Lunch event at Ashlawn Elementary School last November and the recent AbundantCommunity article highlighting the addition of sweet potatoes to their program!”

 Thanks for stopping by and we hope you’ll come back often to see what we’re growing and cooking. 


Ira Wallace lives and gardens at Acorn Community Farm, home of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, where she coordinates variety selection and seed growers. Southern Exposure offers 700+ varieties of Non-GMO, open pollinated and organic seeds. Ira is a co-organizer of the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello. She serves on the board of the Organic Seed Alliance and is a frequent presenter at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIRS and many other events throughout the Southeast.   

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