Dan's Season Extension: Front Range, Colo

Dan StaleyMarch 23, 2011

Hi everyone:

Just wanted to pass on a quick note on early season extension for veggies. Here is what I've got today:

Details at the original page . Under the little black hoops is our onions this year, and in the foreground is an old piece of plexi glazing that is heating the soil for peas to be planted this weekend. Back by the gate the cabbage is ready to be eaten and the spinach is jumping out of the ground.

With our tremendous sun, we have an advantage and can extend our growing seasons with a little material and planning. In fact, there's too much sun for this coldframe:

and you can see the old row cover fabric I had to affix over the glazing.

I hope this inspires someone to try it themselves.


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treebarb Z5 Denver

That's a really sweet set up, Dan. I'm inspired!
The old man's going to have to help though, and I don't think he's inspired...yet!
Thanks for sharing your ongoing project!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 9:03AM
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Dan- I love the conduit trellis'. I think I may have to have a conduit bending party soon. I am growing a lot of long beans and pole beans and I think it would work well for them. As for your cold frame it looks really nice. I have 6 raised beds that are 5' x 10' and we cover them with 6mm plastic. I had lettuce, spinach, carrots and radish just about all winter. I was a little nervous with the winds we get but everything did really well all winter. The downside to the covered raised beds...I found aphids on my brassica�s yesterday! Pretty frustrating. I think I may buy some lady bugs to let loose in the bed that I found them in. I also sprayed them with an insecticidal soap.

If your planting peas this weekend than I better get on the ball!


    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 6:32PM
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Brilliant! I still haven't made my cold frame yet but I did pick up a free I-don't-know-what-it-is-called window type thing. It is one of those things they attach outside a restaurant to place the menu in so that passersby can read it. Like a flat box with a glass top. I'm just going to remove the backing and use it to warm up the soil before putting my seedlings out.

The plastic doesn't blow away?? Everything blows away up here so I'm not sure I want to try hoops even though I think I could really benefit from them. Did you post last year that your hoop clips were bought or that you made them yourself? I forgot.


    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 5:05PM
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Dan Staley

Jennifer, that pic has examples of both homemade clips and ones I bought from Johnny's this year (white) - way cheaper than Territorial and thought I'd give them a whirl (harder to take off than homemade, not sure they save the plastic any better than free ones). Both keep the plastic secure. And yes, the aphids love it. I had a heck of a time keeping them down, and now they're back on the re-seeded arugula.

I was out today inspecting trees and found a huge, heavy piece of wire mesh, 4x8 feet. I have all my trellises (trellisi?) so will have to find something to do with it...


    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 6:37PM
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Thanks Dan. I can see the two types in the photo now that I look more closely. I'm not surprised they damage the plastic, maybe an extra square of plastic between the clip and the sheet?

Hmm, not sure I like the idea of the aphids! I already get enough of them on anything I grow and since I don't spray and the aspens have zillions of them, I'm not sure I want to give them a special place of their own. Although, I really could use all the extra time I can get in my growing season!!

So many new things to try...


    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 9:02PM
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Dan Staley

I'll try some extra plastic Jennifer and see how that goes - the purchased are so tight it's hard to take them off with taut plastic but maybe the extra plastic will help.

I have a spray bottle of neem and one of homemade insecticidal soap and switch off. Seems to work fairly well, but aphids sure do reproduce quickly when their predators hibernate - makes you realize how well they're kept down by predation.


    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 11:04PM
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Dan- How do you make your own insecticidal soap? I have never tried using neem oil although I have read a lot about it. I have had the 8 year picking up lady bugs in the back yard and putting them in the one raised bed. It keeps her busy for hours and gets her out of the mud. :)


    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 6:18PM
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Dan Staley


I have a qt sprayer, in it goes 1 tbl non-antibac dish soap, 1 clove crushed or diced garlic, 1 pinch cayenne, rest water. Spray at dawn or dusk. Repellent properties from garlic and pepper.

Neem thin to directions and spray at dawn or dusk. Neem for me works in late fall-early spring on aphids, all the time on fungus-mold. Summer doesn't work on aphids. Powdery mildew, bang. Damping off, bang.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 9:10PM
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Thanks for the info Dan!!! I will try making it and also try the neem oil.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 10:47PM
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Dan Staley

So I harvested the cabbage out of the hoop closest to the gate, had gone all winter under there. My, my it was sweet, the BH made an excellent slaw with fennel, and the sweetness and fennel together were outstanding. Definitely doing cabbage over the winter again, yessir!!!! Worth the effort.

Onions are up under the black hoops and the kale is ready to come out, as are the 'Hakurei' turnips - which is good, because the potatoes need to go in that spot, and by the time they get here, the choi and chard will be ready so it'll be good timing.



    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 5:52PM
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