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Report From PIA – February 18

There is one serious drawback to having a vegetable garden: It is so satisfying to go into the garden at 5:30 or 6 PM and pick dinner, that having to buy fresh lettuce and other produce in the winter absolutely sucks.

So for the past month I’ve been making plans for extending the vegetable gardening season. My husband built a seed-starting area on the south side of the shed, and our temperature data logger shows that as of mid-February the temperatures stay above freezing on solar-power alone. The back wall of this area is my clay pot storage, and these act as a heat-sink, absorbing the warmth of the sun during the day and releasing it into the area at night.

Today I lined a black plastic crate with burlap, filled it with potting soil topped with seed-starting mix, and planted lettuce. This crate will go out to the shed tomorrow, and I’m hoping to be harvesting lettuce soon. I’m hoping the burlap works out OK…if it proves to wick too much moisture from the soil I’ll use landscape fabric or row-cover next time. And I’ll probably plant this up in the fall, and perhaps again in January, next year and see just how early we can get away with this.

This is one thing I love about gardening: it stimulates us to ask “What if…” and try something new. There are many arenas for experimentation and creativity in the garden, and this can prompt us to be our most ingenious selves.

I’m wondering if gardeners take this same willingness to experiment and try something new into other areas of life. Or are “can-do” people just attracted to gardening? Does your willingness to try new things extend into areas such as volunteer work or technology?

This is the crate of soil and seeds - we'll take it up to the shed tomorrow. I hope the burlap wasn't a mistake...There's the wall of pots that help keep the shed warm at night, I wish I could tell you we did this on purpose, but no... that was just the place I decided that the pots should go, and later discovered that they absorbed the heat of the sun.

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