When a cat lies in a pool of sunlight that is streaming through a glass window on a cold but sunny day, the sun’s rays are transformed. The radiant energy of the visible sunlight becomes heat energy when it strikes the cat’s fur and other surfaces inside the room. Some of this heat is reflected and radiated into the air inside. As heat, it cannot easily pass back through the glass, so the air is warmed inside the window.
A covering over a garden bed acts in the same manner. When light strikes plants and the soil heat is trapped, warming the environment within the covered space. This warmth speeds up all life processes, including the growth and development of garden plants. A garden under cover is protected from rain, frost, wind, and cold. For fall and winter gardening in chilly or cold climates and very early spring growing, cover is essential. Any structure or device that allows light to enter and protects from cold may be used to garden under cover.
The above is an excerpt from Growing Your Own Vegetables, my latest title from Sasquatch Books, due out in May 2009. The bones of this book are drawn from material in The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery, first published in the early 1970’s and now in it’s 10th edition! I’ve mentioned this project before, but do you have any idea how exciting it is when your book is almost published?
Every proud parent carries a snapshot – here’s mine:
From asparagus to zucchini this book is largely in carla’s voice and hopefully communicates her passion, her quirks and above all her encyclopedia knowledge on living a resourceful, respectful and responsible life.
Passionate gardeners, avid cooks and enthusiastic eaters, we’re all after the same thing whether we work a farm in the heartland, tend a backyard in a small town or are homesteaders of the last urban frontier making our home in industrial spaces and dense downtown environments.
Replete with details, ideas, and clever solutions (if I do say so myself) this book has everything you need to know about growing your own fresh, healthy delicious food!
Cloche: (pronounced “klosh”) a lightweight, completely transparent covering for a plant or plants that can easily be moved about the garden. A cloche is the simplest cover to build and use although they are vulnerable to heavy wind and do not provide as much protection from cold as cold frames or greenhouses.
Tomorrow…I plan to show off my newly constructed coldframes! I must say, I’m itching to plant something.