Bill’s no-cost salad factory

Bill’s no-cost cold frame

Bill Mitchell has been picking lettuce and spinach for salads since the third week of March in his two no-cost salad factories, cold frames he made from odds and ends he had on hand.

Bill’s Black Seeded Simpson lettuce

The names of Bill’s salad greens may be familiar to many gardeners: Black Seeded Simpson lettuce and Bloomsdale Long Standing spinach.

“I planted them in early September,” explained Bill, who lives with his wife, Chris, on a wooded lot in Sykesville in northern Howard County. “I put on the glass before frost but took it off on really warm days. During winter, snow sometimes covered the glass cover. The lettuce and spinach came through fine.”

Bill built his two salad machines by recycling materials. “I used untreated scrap 2×6 lumber, which I cut to a size that recycled storm windows would cover the top of the frame, and a dozen nails for each. The soil is basic garden soil plus compost,” Bill said.

His lettuce and spinach are beautiful—and tasty too. Bill shared some that we enjoyed for our evening salad.

For later picking and eating, Bill has more salad greens up and growing in a sunny spot near his cold frames: chard, kale, turnip greens, and more lettuce and spinach.

Bill repairs heirloom chairs

One of Bill’s several other hobbies is repairing chairs. “I splint weave, cane, replace pre-woven cane, and rush weave,” he explained. We know. He recently replaced the pre-woven cane backs of our four kitchen chairs which, after twenty some years, had worn through.

Good jobs, Bill—your cold frames and our chair backs too.

One Comment on “Bill’s no-cost salad factory

  1. Great idea, Bill! Nice chairs, too! Thanks for sharing your tips for early lettuce.

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