Cold Frame?

frustratedearthmother

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Had one of those "I wonder" moments and started questioning if I could put a cold frame to use. I'd love it as a safe place to start seedlings. Invariably, when I get some tender seeds started a chicken will hop the fence to investigate. I have some lettuce in the garden now, but I've already had to toss a sheet over it a couple of times and I'll probably need to again this week. Not a terrible big deal, but if I could find a simpler way I'd sure give it a try.

Anybody have a cold frame? Is it everything you wished it to be or are there any changes you'd make so it would be more user (and plant) friendly?
 

Sassafras II

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I built one a few weeks ago. I framed the sides with 2X2s and plywood and put an old window on top, piled dirt around the sides so that the only thing exposed is the window. Temp got down to 12* and the lettuce and cilantro survived. So far I really like it. I'm planing to build more and try growing broccoli, spinach and kale.
 

frustratedearthmother

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Thanks @Sassafras II ! I have an old window - but it's a double paned Low-E kind that doesn't let heat through. I need to research...

Really glad to get a positive report. Makes me think maybe I can do this. :)

Ok - my research says:

"Low-E glass also blocks Ultra Violet Radiation which can be harmful to plants in large amounts. Low-E glazed glass does not adversely affect houseplant growth, and with some species, it has actually been known to boost plant growth."

Now I need to rustle up something to use for a frame.
 

Britesea

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My unheated greenhouse IS essentially a cold frame tall enough for me to stand up in. Cold frames are kind of the poor man's greenhouse, and hot boxes are like a heated greenhouse. They used to put a nice thick layer of fresh manure on the bottom, then layer sand on top. The heat created by the composting manure traveled up through the sand to heat the seedling, just like an electric heat pad. By the time the manure had worn itself out, the plants were strong enough to withstand the cooler temps inside what had become a cold frame. VERY elegant system! I don't have easy access to enough fresh hot manure to do this (not enough chickens) but if I ever do get my hands on some, I want to try this.
 

frustratedearthmother

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I could probably gather some manure - there doesn't seem to be a shortage of that around here!
 

JanetMarie

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I found this instead of starting a new thread, with basically the same question. I have a greenhouse, but thinking of getting a cold frame to extend the growing season. The downside may be that it will have to be in the garden, taking up space and it may be too hot under there for summer, then that space will be wasted during the hot months.
 

Larsen Poultry Ranch

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I found this instead of starting a new thread, with basically the same question. I have a greenhouse, but thinking of getting a cold frame to extend the growing season. The downside may be that it will have to be in the garden, taking up space and it may be too hot under there for summer, then that space will be wasted during the hot months.
Can you make the window/top with hinges? Usually you want to open the frame when the outdoor temperature starts getting warmer so you don't cook the plants. If you can remove the top entirely during the summer that would prevent the plants from getting too warm.
 
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