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Plant some cold crops early!

Pile of baby spinach

If you haven’t yet get out and plant some cold crops early, many garden favorites prefer the cool temperatures to grow in. Spinach, peas. Cabbage, radish, lettuce and onions to name a few. Around the middle to end of February you can start a few seeds indoors. They can take 8 to 15 days to germinate depending if you have bottom heat or not. As soon as you get 80% germination it is wise to start cooling the seedlings down. I would set them outside in the daytime as long as the temperatures are above freezing inside at night. Ideally you could build a small cold frame and put a heating pad in the bottom and put your seedling trays straight in there. The concept is to keep the cold crops growing in cool temperatures. Days up to about 15 deg C and nights about 0 deg C.  Only use the heating pad if the outside temperatures drop below -5 deg C to help buffer the cold.  Some other plants that like the cold are. Pansies, Parsley, Bok choy, Cilantro, Thyme, Oregano, Mint, Arugula, Beets, Collards, Celery, Chard, Kale,  and a lot more. Do a bit of research on possible cold frame designs or create a simple lean-to against your house in a sunny yet protected area and cover with construction poly and you are good to go! Some people will locate a cold frame near or over a basement window so that some heat from the house is captured to help buffer the cold. Its all worth a try and you can be the first to harvest your garden this spring!

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