Today in downtown Reno the daytime temperature is expected to reach 68 degrees. This is an iffy time for planting non-hardy plants, of course, since the city is actually perched on the edge of the Sierra. We're at an elevation of around 4500 feet, so night temperatures will dip and a cold snap won't come as much of a surprise. Plus, there is still snow on the mythic Peavine. Still, this is a good time to make sure the soil is ready for planting and soil work is a great excuse to get out in the garden with this welcomed daytime warmth.
The soil pictured here in this raised bed has been turned and mixed with last year's compost, which, thanks to the mighty earthworms, was dark, rich, luscious and sweet. In addition, Dry Creek recently received a new shipment of organic chicken manure, so we added a good dose of that as well. After raking and leveling, the box was treated to a nice deep watering.
At this time of year, this box acts as a cold frame for cold hardy vegetables like lettuce, onions, beets, cabbage, kale, spinach, leeks, garlic, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. In the upper right of the photo you can see the clear plastic covers we use to protect from any unexpected hard frosts. The cover intensifies the daytime temperatures, too. And it keeps out any wandering cottontails and the neighbor's sweet kitty that likes to use the freshly turned soil as its own private cat box.