Sunday, February 5, 2012

Salad Table

My husband built me a salad table for Christmas.  It is essentially a shallow planting box (4 inch depth) on legs that could theoretically be moved to different areas of the yard -- a warm sunny location in the winter and early spring, a shady location in the heat of the summer.  It is specifically for growing shallow rooted salad greens, like lettuce, radishes, pak choi, etc., giving them the optimal conditions they need and letting them run their course through the spring and summer, while freeing up space in the garden proper for the summer vegetables, like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and cukes.

I purchased a "garden quilt" (row cover fabric) from Gardener's Supply that is supposed to protect down to 25 degrees.  So with this in mind, I went on and planted the salad table a good 4 or 5 weeks earlier than I would dream of planting in the open garden.  Although we have very pleasant, moderate temperatures in February and March, our last frost date isn't until April 15, and we actually get our biggest snow (ok, don't laugh -- I'm talking 1 to 6 inches, but still . . .) and ice storms in February and even March.  Even without snow or ice, our temps can be in the 70's one day and plunge down below freezing the next.  So it takes a while for the soil in the garden proper to warm sufficiently to germinate and sustain seedlings.

We placed the salad table on the south side of the house, by our big kitchen window.  I have the seeds planted and tucked in under their blankie (which, garden cat Ophelia thinks makes a nice little bed for her, too :-( -- I may have to rig up some anti-kitty pokey things).  It gives her a nice view of the bird feeders, as well as comings and goings in the kitchen and on the street.  Our other cat, Belle, prefers the view from the window sill inside.

I believe the garden quilt can serve as a shade cloth also when things really heat up.  I am finding that shade cloth is an important key to growing salad greens through the summer here in the Memphis area.

Linking to Show off Your Cottage MondayMasterpiece MondayHome and Garden ThursdayFarmgirl Friday ; Homestead Barn Hop


Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

That very cool and you don't have to bend down! Yes, I think shade cloth is important for those of us in hotter climates. I saw one gadeners potager where she had shade cloth strung from one side of her fence to the other (sort of like in strips). So she could decided what to shade and what not to shade.

It's All Connected said...

Wonderful idea! Salad greens are always hard to weed and this solves the problem. Pinning this! ~ Maureen

Anonymous said...

That is the coolest idea. I live in Michigan and the weather is really teasing me here in February. (In the 40s.) I am so antsy to get out into the dirt. Thanks for sharing your great project. Visiting from The House in the Roses Link party. I am your newest follower now. =) God Bless, Wanda

Kathy A Delightsome Life said...

This is a fantastic idea! I love that it is mobile! What a wonderful way to grow your own vegetables! Thank you for sharing!

Heidi said...

I LOVE this idea. I have never tried a raised bed set above the ground like this. Portability makes it so much better. Please keep us posted on soil temps during freezing weather. I'd be curious to know. Welcome to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! I look forward to your next post.

Clint Baker said...

This is a great Idea! I agree Heidi about keeping us posted, this would be a great way to keep it closer to the house as well! love it! Looks like another great blog to follow.

Your Gardening Friend said...

What a handy item. Do keep us posted.

70 degrees one day and then freezing the next?! And I thought Indiana weather was crazy. ;)