Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lettuce Eat Greens on a Hot Summer Day

I managed to grow greens all winter with the use of cold frames and mini was wonderful to have fresh salads and sauteed kale and chard all fall, winter and spring. But the thought of not being able to raise these veggies in the summer seemed unreasonable to me and extremely unfair. So, I got to thinking of ways to get shade in the full sun of the kitchen garden during the hot, humid summer days of Middle Tennessee...hoping I can indeed grow some green leaves to mix with the fresh tomatoes and peppers that I will begin harvesting soon.

Looking around for something to recycle, I came across an old screen door from the back porch that had seen better days and was in the pile of "I know I can do something cool with that so don't throw it out just yet". I hauled it out to the kitchen garden, held it over on of the 4' x 8' beds. Perfect size to provide shade and now all I needed was some way of elevating it over the bed.

I remembered a PVC pipe frame we made last fall for a mini greenhouse. Pushed it into the soil; one on each end of the bed and one in the middle...perfect support for the screen door to lay upon. Threaded some wire through the screen door to attach it firmly to the framework.

Viola, a double decker raised bed. Yeah, it's a little redneck but what's that matter to a Cracked Pot Gardener? It's functional and it just might work. My plan is to have cucumbers grow over the top, adding a little extra shade to the heat sensitive greens below.

In just a short time arugula, spicy greens, cut and come again lettuce from Renee's seeds and some type of wonderful Swiss lettuce (Thanks Heintz) that I can't pronounce are ready to eat. The carrots are coming a bit slower but who cares? they are growing. the cucumbers are starting to climb the PVC pipe frame and will start their trek across the top.

In a week I will sow more seed int he redneck screen house and see what happens. I'll keep you posted.

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