inside my coldframe

Garden Structures

coldframe 089
coldframe 096 coldframe 100
coldframe 090

My cold frame has a patch of greens, some herbs and a few cayenne pepper plants that are still growing from the summer. Lots of open space that I can fill in early spring/late winter. In late February, the sun will hit the frame nicely again. (Now its mostly below the neighboring house.)

This will be the second winter for my cold frame. My husband made it in March 2010. This fall, I mail ordered some green house plastic and we replaced the top panels, which had grown brittle and had several tears. The sides are all purpose plastic from the local Home Depot. In the spring we replaced the two large sides. I’m planning to replace the small front piece this weekend. This week, we duct tapped several tears in this section, but more come quickly. I am wondering if I should use a large piece of the green house plastic and drape it over the frame with sand bags to give it more coverage for the winter. I’ve also been thinking about a soil warmer cable, but am afraid this will cost too much (in energy costs) to be worth it. I suppose if I had planted it as well as last winter, I would do this. But this year, I didn’t get many fall seedlings planted.

10 Comments. Leave new

  • I've always wanted to build a cold frame for the backyard. I think I've missed my opportunity for this winter, but I love that you included photos of plants that are still growing from your summer garden. It's inspiring!

  • When we lived in Massachusetts, my husband built a very sturdy and long-lasting cold frame from plans in Crockett's Victory Garden (book). A nice feature was the use of corrugated fiberglass (available at building centers)for the "lid". I overwintered carrots, parsnip and spinach inside and then planted early lettuce and hardened off seedlings in the spring.

  • I have a really nice cold frame that I built with a plexi glass top on hinges, but the cold frame is way out in the back of the garden, too far to use in these Chicago winters. I always wanted to move it closer but wonder if things planted within will grow with just Northern exposure. Im so mad that it takes up a 8' x 8' space in the garden that I may take it out and fill it with sand- make it a sandbox for the little ones. Today I may start some seeds in the window of the barn- I know Im early but I just cannot wait…..still hoping Santa brings me an Aerogarden.

  • Susan, the corrugated fiber glass sounds interesting for a cold frame. It would be nice to have a longer lasting cover.

    Jezibels, I think you need southern exposure for a cold frame. Mine is directly south and if not for the house there that gets in the way in the winter when the sun is so low, it would be perfect location. Without sun, a cold frame doesn't do anything.

    Funny you say that about the seeds. I am having the same thoughts. Wanted to start my spring seeds soon. But I decided I will wait til the New Year. So Jan 1 I will be planting! I have catalogs arriving daily now and its seems like I haven't been in the garden for too long.

  • Oh Kathy, After I wrote that yesterday I went out to the garden, cleared out that cold frame and its all ready to plant in, you inspired me to use it, so I will, it gets some really great southern exposure, there were some happy warm earthworms tooling around in there, and a mouse house (he better not eat much)I blogged about getting it ready last night:

    thanks for that! ; )

  • That's so exciting!!! Worms are a really good sign…

    Last year I dug a path in the three foot deep snow to reach my cold frame. I planted out seedlings very early – after snow melt. This year I am going to look back over what seedlings did well going out early and which ones didn't. Some I put out too soon because I was so enamored with having all the space outside.

    Holidays are garden planning time, New Year is planting time….

  • Lots of cool little veggie seedlings. I am now in the process of germinating my veggie seeds-some pumpkin, beans and cucumbers already up

  • A few months ago we were driving through Watsonville, which is the city in Central Coast California, along with Salinas, that grows an amazing amount of winter food. They had fields covered with hoops and plastic and berry vines inside of them on trellises. I can't imagine how much all that costs.

    I love your blog. We are still picking tomatoes from our two plants, in far south San Diego.

  • It doesn't last forever, butmuch longer than the standard visqueen; heavy duty clear shower curtians.

    I buy them at Ross. I started using them when I noticed that one my husband had covered something with in the yard, as a last minute "it's going to rains!" fix, had lasted YEARS without shattering. My greenhouse ones don't last that long, but still much better than Visqueen

  • Awesome idea!!


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