Cold Frame Gardening for the Longer Term
Cold frame gardening is an economical alternative to a greenhouse that offers numerous of its benefits. Make sure your bedding plants are protected and ensure they are warm throughout the growing season.
Cold frames, also known as a mini-greenhouse is essentially an enormous bottomless container with a transparent covering that is placed on the ground. It is utilized to provide a secure area for plants in which they can receive sunlight and warmth, especially during winter.
It is similar to greenhouses in that the transparent cover lets sunlight to shine through the lid, and also traps heat inside. These characteristics make greenhouses and cold frames ideal for plants to grow in the colder months, in which they could otherwise rot (or die) outside.
We utilize the cold frame to provide shelter for young seedlings are being cultivated to be transplanted later in the garden for vegetables. This gives us the chance to get an early start on the growing season when we're still in the middle of winter to plant outside.
The climate of southern Arizona isn't too hot that we didn't need to add the source of extra warmth within our cold frame.
The lowest winter temperature we can expect will be 2 degrees (-17degC) as well as we get plenty of sun all year round.
If you reside in a more cloudy or colder climate, you might want to put this cable of heating or hot pads beneath the flooring of the mini greenhouse.
There are occasions when we encounter rodents, such as pocket gophers, who love young seedlings and so we've covered the lower part of the box with an aluminum screen to discourage the rodents. This means that our cold frame gardening doesn't involve growing directly inside the box. All the plants we have used to grow in our cold frame are planted in containers of some type.
Frame on the Ice Frame to catch Sunlight
The mini-greenhouse must be placed on a level surface (ours is situated on the gravel pad that has been raked) and orientated towards the south with the lid to catch the light and warmth of the winter sun's low angle. Be sure to place the thermometer inside to ensure that you can keep track of the temperature. It is important to keep your plants from being overheated.
In addition to providing enough sunlight without overheating the seedlings you must also protect your seedlings from birds.
To safeguard our efforts to garden in a cold frame from birds that find fresh seedlings appealing, we've constructed a simple screen that sits on top of the cold frame in order to safeguard the plants that are vented.
If you plan to grow directly in the container, make certain that you've cultivated in the past and altered your soil so that it will be hospitable to new plants. Salad vegetables and lettuces are excellent candidates for this arrangement. They can be planted directly in the soil.
Cold Frame To Grow Vegetables
The cold frames are generally employed to extend the duration of the vegetables. The plants can be planted in cold frames earlier than they would be exposed to the elements and thereby allowing them to grow during times when they typically are "out in season" and thus costly to purchase.
A cold frame could be used to begin seeds so as to be ready to transplant after the risk of frost has passed. Tomatoes are a popular crop to germinate from seeds in the cold frame.
Growing Onions Excellent For cold Frame Gardening
In the last week of January, we plant onions in flat containers of potting soil in the indoors and set them over the heating pad that is set to low.
Once they have germinated After they germinate, we keep on the freezing frame throughout the day and take them in each evening. Once they're about four inches (10 centimeters) tall, they can be placed within the gardens.
About a week prior to this, they're left inside the frame for a night in order to adapt to outdoor temperatures or to harden off.
We have to wait until later in spring to plant our tomato, pepper and bean seedlings in separate pots.
They can't be placed out to the outside until temperature of the soil is at or below 70degF (21degC) So we don't place their in cold frames until around three weeks ahead of that.
Don't cook the Seedlings!
Cold frame gardening is an economical alternative to a greenhouse that offers several of the benefits. Make sure your bedding plants are protected and ensure they are warm throughout the growing season.
The mini-greenhouse is designed to trap the heat efficiently during warm days. It can quickly overheat when you don't have a method to let it out. A cold frame that is closed will get hot to over 100degrees rapidly. Vent your cold frame to ensure temperatures control.
It's not a good idea to let your seedlings die after having taken care of so diligently! Be aware of the temperature inside the plant and, when it reaches above 80degF (27degC) then prop open the lid to let cool air can get in.
If you want to start your garden in the early spring we suggest gardening in a cold frame. It is possible to enjoy the bounty of nature without waiting for the garden's soil to get warm enough to be able to plant seeds.
Cold Frame Design
The style that you choose for your cold frames will depend on what you plan to utilize it for. But, there are a few essentials to keep in your thoughts.
The cold frame you choose to use should be situated in an area in which it receives lots of sunshine. It's also important to put it in a place in a location that is protected from the elements and can be protected from hard frost and stormy weather.
The soil must be level or very lightly sloped exactly as you select when planting your garden. The soil should be treated similarly, i.e. treat it with care and fertilize it the same way you would in an outdoor garden. Plants can also be grown particularly seeds, in particular starts in trays that are packed with pots of soil. This is the preferred method for plants that are intended to be moved to an outdoor space.
The frame must be constructed of a material that can endure the elements. A frame that is less than 3/4inch thick will work fine. (The strain on the walls is lower than with the full size greenhouse.) The top, regardless of whether it is glass or PVC, must be gently sloped to keep rain away. A slope of 10 to 15 degrees is ideal.
The pieces can be bonded to each other using screws or nails, but the top must be able to be removed in some way. The most straightforward way to get an open top to the cold frame would be to create the top of PVC and secure it on three sides using fasteners that can be removed instead of something that is permanent, like staples. An alternative, more difficult (but equally elegant) option is to build an enclosure made of wood to hold this PVC film or glass, and connect it using hinges.
The toughest part of the job is likely making the slope to the top. This will require cutting the wood on two side with an angle. This should be the same angle on both sides! Straightedges, angle measurements and a powersaw can be used as tools to achieve this.
Cold Frame Kits
If you're not able to tackle the entire task yourself , and are willing to spend an extra amount it is possible to purchase kits that cost between $60 and or up to around $500. Searching of "cold frame kits" produces a lot of hits. Kits for greenhouses that are large are also available, however they usually cost some more money. Kits include all the components needed to build your cold frame. They can be put together with little in the way of tools.
- Enhance the look of green Spaces and large capacityLarge storage capacity for diverse types of plants and stylish and minimalist design. The patios, balconies gardens, decks, and patios an extra touch of green without fuss.
- Top that Folds– The top of this item can easily closed and open, and two bolts are on both sides can be used to secure the top. In the sun, you can open it up so that your plants can soak up the sun's rays. In rainy weather days, you can cover the top with a tarp to protect it from rain.
- Solid Structure–Structured with heavy-duty wood for extended durability, and the structure follows the scientific principle and is strong enough to hold seed trays, pots and plant growth light.
- Easy Movement and Assembly–All parts can be removed, which means you can place it where you'd like, and move it as the seasons change. There is no tool required.
- 100% Satisfaction Assurance–We will strive to ensure you a pleasant shopping experience. If the product is of high quality to be found, we'll find the an effort to resolve the issue.
How to build a the Cold Frame within the garden of your Home Garden?
Cold Frame Plans
By using our cold-frame designs, you can begin and then harden off seedlings, and extend you growing seasons. Our simple DIY plans will assist you in improving your gardening skills.
With these cold frame designs it is possible to cultivate your own garden on balconies in sunny apartments as well as in urban yards or even for huge countryside gardens. The structure itself is basic and will help keep plants safe for planting in the early stages.
It's about four inches (1.2 meters) square. The back panel measures 15 inches (38 centimeters) tall and the front measures nine inches (23 cm) with sides that slope down from the back to the front.
It is covered by transparent plastic with corrugation that is squared off and supported by a strip molding that is designed to match the transparent panel. There are a variety of translucent and clear materials that work well to cover the entire top. Keep in mind that the goal is to shield the tiny plants while allowing sunlight to reflect across the surface.
The transparent plastic top is affixed to an edging made that is made of dimension wood. We utilized 1" four" board (actually three inches wide by 3/4 inch high, or 2cm by 9cm). The corners of the frames are joined by butting them together, and then fastened with flat steel plating and holes pre-drilled and secured over the joint. We utilized 1/8 inch (about 1.3 centimeters) 8 lath screws for fastening the plates. Make sure you reinforce the bottom and top on each of the corners. Woodworkers who are serious may use an glued and screwed lap joint, or mortise and Tenon joint to accomplish this.
Make sure you align the top layer of material in a way that the corrugations are sloping so that rainwater can flow away. We secured the both the top and bottom parts of the material to the frame using 1-inch (2.5 cm) gasketed hex-head screws into the plastic, and then put the brace inside the frame. We used shorter lath screws for securing both sides to secure the frame. Make sure you screw only into the valleys of the corrugated material.
The sides of the cold frame were made from the 1/2-inch (1.3 millimeters) Construction-grade plywood. With a chalk line we traced two trapezoids that are four 5 feet by 10 inches and 9 inches. Two trapezoids make the shape of a rectangle measuring that measures 4 feet by 2 feet, or half of the piece of plywood. Then we marked two rectangles each measuring approximately 4 feet by 9 inches, and the other 14 feet by 4 feet. The two trapezoids form the sides with sloping slopes of the box. The rectangles are sides and the back.
From a 4 foot-wide sheet of window screen made from metal we cut a length of 54 inches (137 centimeters) long, and stapled it on the top of the box. The length that was left over was overlapping before being stapled onto the edges to add durability. We decided to use the screen due to the fact that we had it on the shelf. The hardware cloth, or any other mesh that can keep gophers and mice out and allow water to drain be effective. We recommend a mesh that is not vulnerable to rust, like galvanized or aluminum metal.
In accordance with our cold frame plans to build the box stronger, We cut out four scraps of wood using two inches by 2 inches of fir. 2 pieces of wood were cut at 8 inches long, and the other 14 inches. They were then clamped onto the back and front pieces and secured using 1 1/2 inch (about 4 centimeters) sheetrock screws which we have always in our workshop. Any screw made of wood with the proper length is suitable to do this. The sides were then clamped on the corner braces, and screwed them to the corner braces. The box was complete.
Once the bottom mesh was secured, we affix to the top using hinges on the rear or the top. The hinges were positioned about 1 foot (30.5 centimeters) to each side. We utilized a hook and an eye to fix on the back of our top to keep it in the closed position. The cold frame was placed on top of the porch's south-facing post to secure the top in an open position.
For venting, a range of options are readily available. (read more about venting) Commercial venting systems that are automated are also available. A variable system can be used to control temperature manually. There are a variety of methods for making a prop for a top open, such as using a small scrap of wood placed under on the side of the countertop and a piece of rock placed in the corner to support it. Choose one that is simple to use, practical with enough security to prevent the damage caused by spring winds.
Tools and Materials used for cold Frame Plans
The process of building Cold Frame plans took approximately five hours using only basic tools and materials. tools.
Tools we used include
- Hand drill driver head electric
- Hammer Heavy stapler, 1/2" staples
- Chalk line
- Power hand saw
- Clamps Tape measure
- Phillips screwdriver
- 1/4'' nut driver for gasketed screws
Our hardware was used in the project
- Hinges 2 – 2" 3" hinges (galvanized or brass prevents corrosion)
- Sheetrock screws 1 1/2" – around 40 of them
- Flat steel corner reinforcement – two per corner – 8 pieces
- The appropriate screws to reinforce corners and top construction
- Hook and eye Two sets
We used this material in the project to build the Cold Frame
- 1 piece of 1/2-inch CDX (construction-grade) plywood Four feet by four feet
- A sheet made of corrugated polymer 26 inches by 8 feet (66 cm x 2.4 millimeters)
- Corrugation gaskets to cover the top and bottom enough to cover 8 feet
- Aluminium screening (1/4" cloth for hardware optional)
In our desert region in Southern Arizona USA, where the sun can be intense We built another top frame to the box, and then wrapped it in shade cloth. This lets us start seedlings for the fall and summer rotational plantings, without burning the delicate plants.
With our cold frame designs you can construct cheap and sturdy shelters for your plants that are young. Modifications can be easily tailored to the local conditions.