With the warm weather we've had in Minnesota for the past couple weeks almost all of the snow has melted. A week or so ago we said if the weather continued to be this warm, that we would set up our cold frame and get the outdoor growing season started REALLY early. Today was an amazing and wonderful sunny 60 degree day. So we transplanted all the lettuce that we were growing indoors, outside into the ground. The top few inches of soil was not frozen solid, and we added a few inches of compost, so there's a good half foot of warm workable soil that should make the lettuce happy.
Our cold frame is nothing fancy, but worked really well extending the growing season last fall. It is built from a used 3mm thick painters drop cloth and some scrap half inch by one inch lumber. It truly cost nothing and only took an hour or so to build. There is a plastic lid that slides on top at night to help keep the heat in.
The extended 10 day forecast calls for highs above freezing every day and nightly lows in the 30's or upper 20's so the cold frame should work really well
The Minnesota winters can be a bit cold, but have made us really come to love and appreciate the first few really nice days in spring. Today was one of them! Everyone in the neighborhood quit their winter routine of bundling up in their parkas and going from the house to the car as quickly as possible. Instead people emerged without jackets wearing just short-sleeves and lingered outside for a good part of the afternoon. While we were doing the planting several people stopped over and said hello while checking in on what crazy projects we would take on this year. The alley was abuzz with life as kids rode their bikes and at least half a dozen families got together and caught up. What a wonderful day!