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Ventilating My Coldframe

We’ve been having some unseasonably dry, sunny weather here in the UK. I’ve been out in the garden almost every day and everything has put on a growing spurt. My Tomatoes have been hardening off well in a sheltered spot, my Courgette, Pumpkin and French Bean seeds have sprouted. Heck, I’ve even got three Melon seedlings coming on in the cloche.

I’ve been watering the garden like mad to keep things growing and to take advantage of the sunny weather to get things going. It seems to have worked. But I almost had a disaster the other day. I went out and forgot to open my coldframe. When I came back my Lettuce seedlings were gasping for breath and looking very sorry for themselves. I watered them quickly and made sure to ventilate the frame every day since.

My coldframe is the in the south-facing corner and so gets the sun almost all day. When it’s closed it can get really hot in there and when seedlings are very small their root system isn’t large enough to seek out water and they get over-heated very quickly.

I won’t be making the same mistake again.

15 Responses to “Ventilating My Coldframe”

  1. Philipon 22 Apr 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Just found your blog. Like the look of it very much. I’m a keen allotmenteer and blogger myself – will look forward to reading your posts.
    thanks
    Philip

  2. Gardener on Sherlock Streeton 22 Apr 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Isn’t that heart wrenching. You work to protect them and then almost cook them. I’ve done the same thing.

  3. Manor Stables Veg Ploton 22 Apr 2010 at 5:34 pm

    We had a mild frost this morning which was fun, followed by my greenhouse being 45 degrees when I went home at lunch and had forgotten to open the door…..this time of year can be trying (on the plants, not me!!)

  4. Sarahon 22 Apr 2010 at 6:13 pm

    This weather drives you nuts doesn’t it!

    One minute I’m covering the seedlings from frost then later that day they’re being cooked by the boiling sun. I’m rushing backwards and forwards covering, uncovering, watering, shading…

  5. Sarahon 22 Apr 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Your lettuce seedlings are looking very healthy now! Just a quick question slightly off topic as you mentioned all the seeds which have sprouted, I saw a post on your blog last year about really great looking cucumbers called ‘crystal apple’ I got some seeds from Victoriana & started them inside about a week and a half ago, I moved them to the greenhouse about four days ago but there is no sign of germination yet. I was just wondering how long they should take to appear? I’m still a bit of a gardening novice.

  6. Damoon 22 Apr 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Yes I did the same thing today, luckily my wife spotted the closed greenhouse, charity plant sale tomorrow and the Little Gem’s have survived!

  7. mtpon 22 Apr 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Hi Sarah, It’s best to germinate cucumbers in a heated propagator. That said, they might germinate in the greenhouse, they might just take a little longer to show. If they don’t show then re-sow in a heated propagator, or near a heat source indoors.

  8. Annon 23 Apr 2010 at 6:39 am

    Lucky you, we’ve got more snow forecast this weekend so nothing is even getting planted here. At least the garlic survived the winter, overall we had a metre of snow fall and garden was completely covered for 11 weeks and partially covered for a lot more.
    Hurry up Spring!

  9. Marcuson 23 Apr 2010 at 8:35 am

    I’ve been away from home all week – and left my less-than-enthusiastic wife in charge of such matters. I hope to God that everything has made it through these past few schizophrenic days. On another note, the west of Ireland (where the Gulf stream ameliorates the worst privations of winter) is easily 2 weeks ahead of my garden in the east (Dublin).

  10. Kellaon 23 Apr 2010 at 10:36 am

    Hi I’m just catching up on everyone’s blogs that I follow.

    The weather has certainly been on the gardener’s side this spring, but I woke to two mornings of ground frost and I am in kent which has remided me to be cautious about what I plant out.

  11. Joon 23 Apr 2010 at 11:12 am

    We’ve had a few ground frosts here, but it quickly warms up through the morning. I haven’t forgotten to open my greenhouse yet in the morning, but I forgot to close it at night a couple of weeks ago. Luckily, everything was alright.

  12. City Smallholderon 23 Apr 2010 at 1:33 pm

    We’re having the same problem – there are huge temperature variations at the moment so it’s important not forget to open up, or close when the temperature drops quickly.

  13. ineson 23 Apr 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Lovely photography, great post. How do you manage to work the garden, run a family, take pictures and blog so beautifully? I’ve only just blogged about my work from three weeks ago today…

    I’m away from home (partly caught out by atlantic volcanic influences…) too and had to chuckle reading Marcus’ comment. My garden is at the mercy of my husband. But I’m confident he does the watering job ok and I guess my poly tunnel is big enough to substain the heat wave of the midday sunshine in Ireland… I hope so anyway.

    Happy gardening :-)

  14. Sarahon 24 Apr 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Thanks so much for the reply, I’ll live in hope that they may appear in the greenhouse but I think I’ll re-sow near a heat source indoors just to make sure, I really want some of those cucumbers, yours looked fantastic. Thanks again.

  15. George Davison 26 Jan 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Hi – I wish my problem were ventilation in my cold frames. We have had a miserable cold spell here in Delaware. It is snowing now. I had to try three different methods of insulating my cold frames, please have a look at my new blog site:
    http://fromseedtoscrumptious.blogspot.com

    I have not opened the frames back up since the attempted insulation rescues, but the 4 – 10 inches of snow expected today should help with the cold. I will leave the snow on as temps are expected to plunge again. But miss the fun of going over to the frames and munching on veggies.
    Love your work, George