Cultivate Simple Podcast in iTunes Chiot's Run on Facebook Chiot's Run on Twitter Chiot's Run on Pinterest Chiot's Run on Flickr RSS Feed StumbleUpon

Planting in the Low Tunnel

March 2nd, 2016

This past Sunday we had a beautiful day, highs near fifty and sunny. Perfect for working in the garden, only the ground is still frozen. The soil in the low tunnel is thawed and workable, in fact the spinach in there is starting to grow new leaves. I have lettuce seedlings under the grow light that can be planted outside any day now, I’ve just been waiting for the weather to be above the single digits at night. I finally broke down and ordered a four pack of these probe thermometers, one will be put in the low tunnel so I can monitor the temperatures in there during the day and at night. I’ll use one under my grow lights too so I know the ambient temperature there as well.
planting in the low tunnel 1
planting in the low tunnel 2
I decided to take a few of each and plant in the low tunnel. We have a night that’s supposed to be 3 degrees, tomorrow evening – brrr. I decided it was worth planting a few seedlings out to see how they survive that kind of a night. That will give me a good idea of the weather inside the low tunnel. I’m thinking about giving them an additional layer of protection on that night, perhaps a milk jug or even another layer of frost blanket. I also seeded some arugula and cilantro in there.
planting in the low tunnel 3
I transplanted a few spinach seedlings as well, we’ll se how all this stuff does on that one frigid night. If it does well I’ll be filling the low tunnel with other lettuces and greens. We shouldn’t really have any more of those. Soon enough I’ll have enough garden chores to keep me busy on beautiful days, I can hardly wait!

What are you planting this week?

4 Comments to “Planting in the Low Tunnel”
  1. Sara on March 2, 2016 at 8:21 am

    I woke up today to three degrees and have plants in the same situation in our little hoop. I have some in a cold frame inside, those should probably be okay, and I put row cover over everything else. I guess I’ll know in a few hours how they all fared! I do like the remote thermometer, it’s fun to watch the temps creep up, and the difference between inside and out.

    I was just thinking this morning about how it’s more the soil temperature that helps plants survive this time of year–the plastic cover doesn’t provide much temperature protection at night, but the high heat in the day gives the soil so much of a head start. We don’t have violets inside but we do have crocus, which just bloomed, so I’m hoping that’s a good sign :)

    Reply to Sara's comment

  2. Cindy on March 2, 2016 at 8:34 am

    Would you please do a soil block tutorial or give the instructions? Yours are perfect, and I haven’t been able to perfect mine for the last few years. :(

    Reply to Cindy's comment

  3. PennyAshevilleNC on March 2, 2016 at 9:26 am

    We also had a nice weekend and I planted peas. Usually they hang tight until 2nd week of March or so. I could cover them with plastic in a snap (ha!) if needed.

    Ditto Cindy re: soil blocks- would love to have advice on those.

    Reply to PennyAshevilleNC's comment

  4. Nebraska Dave on March 2, 2016 at 9:31 am

    Susy, no planting outside yet. Someday maybe I’ll have hoop covers but for the next couple years it will be just garden structure building and weed taming. By year’s end I hope to have almost half tamed permanently with two sections to go. I really want a shed for tool storage and a cold frame at Terra Nova Gardens. With my limited gardening time, it will take more than a year to accomplish all that. My focus this year is on sweet corn protection and natural Spring development. Hopefully, before the hot dry summer hits, I’ll be able to pump water out of the Spring with an old fashioned country hand pump. Moving water is primitive right now. Filling a 35 gallon elevated barrel near the spring with a hose connected to lower barrels in the garden area helps to keep the lugging of water to a minimum. Gravity is a great work horse in the garden, don’t you think?

    Have a great planting under the hoop day.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

Reading & Watching

Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

Read previous post:
I Spy…

On Sunday, I was checking the soil and spinach plants in the low tunnel and spotted a 'Bowles Black' violet...