Critters in the Coldframe

Wow. Well fingers crossed, hopefully the third time is the charm for getting our new cold frame up and producing. I have now protected it as well as Fort Knox. I don’t even think that each burglary was committed by the same thief.

Before I delve into the robberies though, I want to start with how excited I am about my snazzy new cold frame. Years ago I built a rustic cold frame out of repurposed windows and wood. It was awfully cute. And it looked great in my adorable fenced in kitchen garden.  But …it was far from the house, was not facing south, and was under a shade tree. So not quite what I’d call productive. In fact I never really got any food out of it.

This new cold frame, however, is a whole other story. Just steps from the back door. Faces south. Nestled up against a short brick retaining wall for additional insulation. AND filled with chicken-provided compost. That alone tickles me pink!  So certainly I was filled with much excitement when I first put it together. I planted it up with arugula and Swiss chard with plans for adding lettuces and endive. But this is where I get to the thefts….

In the first go around the Swiss chard was coming up and I had very initial shoots of endive. Just as expected.  But then, a couple of mornings later, the little seedlings were just gone. The chickens had been out in the garden. Was it them? Squirrels? Birds? Impossible to know without video evidence. So I planted new seeds and covered the bed with hardware mesh. I also added red pepper flakes around the perimeter of the entire bed. Child’s play it seems.

Within just two days of covering the newly planted seeds, three separate tunnels ran through the cold frame. This I’m fairly sure was rats. So gross and depressing!  They just burrowed through the pepper flakes and under the cedar walls of the cold frame. It is difficult for me to show with perfect clarity but the picture below is the inside view of a tunnel dug in the cold frame.

Photo Oct 13, 8 37 49 AM

So, now for my third effort. I shoveled all of the chicken compost from the bed to a tarp. Then I lined the entire floor of the cold frame with hardware mesh. and screwed it up along the inside of the walls. Next I replaced all of the chicken compost,  planted another round of seeds and reinstalled the hardware mesh covers.

Now little arugula seedlings are coming up. It’s been about two weeks. I am holding my breath and crossing my fingers….


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