Obviously digging and planning the layout are my priorities at the moment, nut I’m also thinking ahead. That’s it. This will keep you seedlings and plants quite a bit warmer and will prevent wind damage to young plants. A cold frame gives you the opportunity for fresh greens and herbs in the dead of winter. This cold frame primer tackles basic designs, low-tech climate-control options, how to garden in a cold frame, the top 12 winter cold frame crops, and how to make seed starters from milk jugs. Cold frame greenhouses allow plants to be started earlier in the spring, and to survive longer into the fall and winter. Build the frame from lumber, such as rot-resistant redwood or cedar or less expensive plywood or scrap lumber.
If you want to move your cold frame easily on a hard surface, you can fit steel wheels under the four uprights. Glass cold frames are available in many different sizes and shapes, there is sure to be one here that meets your exact requirements. Energy is accumulated in the stones during the day and it is released gradually into the air during cold nights. The manure-heated hotbed provides a means for starting plants several weeks earlier in the spring than they could be started outdoors.
After a couple of years of watching my winter lettuce succumb not to cold (lettuce can withstand low temperatures – mine have survived mid-20’s in years past) but to battering rain and wind, I decided that if I was going to be able to harvest lettuce reliably all winter that I needed to devise some kind of protection. Sow into seed trays in your cold frame and they’ll be protected from downpours and out of reach of curious pets and wayward footballs. Arrange your straw bales in a rectangular shape no more than one-bale-wide to avoid cold pockets in the center of the structure.
A simple method is to throw burlap sacks filled with leaves over the sash on the frame at night to protect against freezing, or bales of straw or hay may be stacked against the frame. Our second set of frames is made of cherry, oak, maple, ash – pretty fancy wood for cold frames but we salvaged the boards from used pallets. You can pile soil, leaves, or wood chips around the outside of an aboveground frame to hold heat.
But if you consider your plants’ natural growing habits and don’t try to push them too far, cold frames can give a good assist. Cloches are set out over individual plants or are made into tunnels for whole rows. I have 21 raised beds, so choosing two or three for low tunnel growing would work well. For a sturdier frame structure, you could consider using waterproof glue for the joints. When planning your cold frame, remember it should be 12-24 inches high in front and 36-48 inches high in back. In general, little watering is necessary while plants are small and temperatures are cool early in the season.
The windows originally came from the old Walton (our tiny little town) elementary school. Making cold frames for seedlings does not have to be expensive or a lot of work. Cold frames are a good place to make late fall plantings of such cold hardy plants as broccoli, kale and spinach, which can be over winters in a cold frame—plant them right in the ground-and can even provide early spring and mid-winter harvests during warm spells. Make sure to the construct the cold frame around the dimensions of the window or door.
On unusually warm days, the windows can be moved aside to let more air in and keep the plants from overheating. Those frames have been around for more than a dozen years, and are still in good shape. This attractive cold frame is simple to build and easy to disassemble for warm-weather storage. Where to put your cold frame – In a place that gets as much sun as possible, and remember that the sun will be lower in January than it is in September.
On top, we’ll place a hinged cover made of clear acrylic plastic, that will allow sunlight to provide warmth for the growing plants. You can heat your cold frame with special warming cables or mats available at well-stocked garden centers. Of course, storm windows were meant to be used vertically; when you use them horizontally the wooden crossbars holding the panes inhibit the flow of water and the trapped water can weaken and rot them until they start to drip onto the plants below. Great plans, great pictures, lots of details on building cold frames out of recycled materials.
Opening the frame occasionally in autumn and winter will help prevent damp, stagnant air building up – the perfect breeding ground for fungal diseases. We just thought the windows made for a great looking piece – and hey – they were free ���� ! Like a greenhouse, a cold frame gives you a head start on the growing season so tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables that shiver when the temperature drops below 50 degrees (and keel over when it drops below 32 degrees) have the sauna-like conditions they prefer, even when it’s cold outside. I made seven of these clamps and use them to hold the poly sheeting to my frame.
So this gives you an opportunity to reduce the amount of money you’re spending to build your cold frame. Cold frames can be expensive and permanent architectural additions to the garden, or cheap structures assembled from scrap lumber and recycled glass windows. Being of aluminium and glass construction these cold frames will give a lifetime of reliable service. Straw has been our material of choice, although people use lumber, bricks, and many other materials to create cold frames. The roof has glass windows and they are covered during winter with a double layer of 50 mm EPS foam panels.
On a sunny spring day, the temperature can rise high enough to cook the soil and the plants if you don’t vent off the extra heat. This hoop house isn’t built onto a wooden frame; it’s staked directly into the ground, so it’s not portable. The light is usually hinged at the back of the frame for easy raising and lowering and ventilation. In spring, use a cold frame for early sowings of broad beans, sweet peas and lettuce in February and March, then from April to June fill it with hardy annuals, half-hardies, plants for the veg patch and tender bedding.
In most areas, you’ll gain four to eight weeks of growing time by using a cold frame to start plants and harden off seedlings. Cold frame is excellent for wintering of rhododendrons, azaleas and other woody plants. Once we have our cold frame in place – we simply sow our lettuce seeds right on top. The clear or translucent top or cover of the frame may be called by different names: lid, sash, glazing, or light. A low tunnel opened after the Polar Vortex of January 2014, contrasted with unprotected plants (below) and an unopened tunnel (above).
It took me waaayyyy back to my childhood when we visited the cousins in PA – there was an old family store at the side of my great-aunt Jane’s house and I can still picture 2 of my cousins and I getting those wax lips and things! The front wall (generally the south wall) should be about 12 inches tall for a 6-foot frame. Cold frames can vary in size: 3 feet wide by 6 feet long is the size of an average home garden cold frame.
These cold frames can really make a positive difference in how much food you can produce. If you live by a greenhouse panel manufacturer, or anywhere that sells greenhouses; see if they have scraps for free or very cheap. It is not always easy to start seeds or young plants for fall crops in the hot and dry conditions of August. Insulation can increase night air temperature inside the frame by 8°F or even more. There is also a selection of aluminium extrusions you can use to strengthen up an existing cold frame of even bulid a new one to you own special design.
A cold frame allows you to capture solar energy and create a warmer, protected microclimate which will enable you to start planting crops earlier in the season and also continue later into the year. By placing the cold frame in front of a building you’re providing protection from winds and the elements to some degree. In 15 minutes you can build a 4 x 8 foot plant shelter that is easy to use, and when no longer needed it is easy to store or put the components to work in other areas in the garden.
A hoop house, or high tunnel, is an inexpensive, quick-to-construct greenhouse. The objective of a double cover inside a cold frame is not to extend the growing season but to extend the harvest season or to allow plants to over-winter for renewed growth in spring. Using low-cost construction techniques , they take their allotted time to make but can last years if they are made well, and taken care of. Make your frames so they can stack, one on the other, as high as you need them. It’s easy to find, inexpensive, and I can easily modify the structure to suit some future growing need; design flexibility is always a consideration in my garden.
Beyond this basic definition, a cold frame can be constructed from many different materials. The cold frame can be converted to a hot bed by adding a waterproof underground heating cable on or under the surface of the soil. For the Love of Lillian made these cold frames from old windows and scrap wood. For the very best and safest results choose non-toxic paints when you build this cold frame design. I have several smaller cold frames that are approximately 3 feet wide and 5 feet long that I use to start a lot of garden plants. Don’t worry if the frames have very small cracks that air can flow through; as long as there are no gaping holes, you are good to go.
Cut the side boards on a diagonal so that the front (southward-facing side) of the frame is lower than the back. The back side of a frame is usually taller (often 18 to 24 inches high) than the front (commonly 8 to 12 inches high) with the clear top sloping down from back to front allowing rain to run off and sunshine to flood in. The taller the frame the taller the plants it will accommodate. That was proven by two beds of spinach planted a few Septembers ago to winter over outdoors.
Be sure to paint the cold frame with primer and an outdoor latex paint, you may also want to wrap the edges of the plywood that touch the soil with duct tape to keep moisture from wicking up into the plywood. MOTHER EARTH NEWS Contributing Editor Barbara Pleasant shares how to craft an amazing array of season-stretching devices on a shoestring budget, including cloches, tunnels, a classic cold frame and more. Cold frames differ in design and materials, but are essentially a box with a hinged transparent lid (most commonly made of glass).