“Inspired” Cold Frames

Sandy certainly caused a great deal of pain and damage.  For those who are affected my thoughts and prayers are with you. For us Sandy was lots of bluster and about an inch of rain over twenty-four hours.  The wind was strong but there was no damage in our area.

The recent evening temperatures have been forecast to be in the twenties.  I started to think about my young cabbage, carrots, and onions.  I worried the freezing temperature might damage them.  Cold frames were how I had planned to protect the young plants I just had not built them yet.  So yesterday I built two cold frames.

I started with two old, cellar windows given to me by my neighbor.  The rest of the project was built from pallet lumber I had laying around the shop.

This is the first cold frame. It is located on the back porch.

The back is fourteen inches high and the front is ten inches high.  My design is inspired by Eliot Coleman’s Four Season Harvest cold frame.  Coleman’s cold frames are eight feet wide and four feet long with a maximum height of twelve inches.  Coleman uses his cold frames exclusively on the ground where twelve inches is enough.


Here you can see what is growing in the cold frames. You can also see the height difference between the ground and flower boxes.

I use some of my cold frames on the back porch to grow vegetables in flower boxes which are about six inches high and the plants need the extra height to grow with out touching the glass.

A common question I see people searching my website for is what type of hinges to use on a cold frame.  I purchased very simple hinges from a local home store.

These basic hinges work very well on my cold frame.

I made a construction mistake on the first cold frame.  I made the back wall fourteen inches and the front wall twelve inches.  The angle created by only two inches did not allow enough sunlight on the plants.

To correct the mistake I cut two inches off the front and cut a the appropriate taper to the back.

In the garden I have two cold frames protecting young plants.

The gray cold frame has onions.  The other cold frame has cabbage and carrots

Cold frames create a micro-climate.  The cold frame protects the plants from enough wind and cold to allow them to survive.  When the sun hits them they will warm up and grow.  This is a micro-climate, a small location with different climate conditions.  With the right type of plants I hope to be eating fresh vegetables all Winter.

I have also been trying to pull out dead plants and clean everything up around the garden beds.  I realized how far behind I am.  This week the weather looks pleasant and sunny so I hope to get outside and get caught up.

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.


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