A cold frame is a great tool for any climate. A gardener can use it to get a jump start on the growing season or to extend the growing season as winter approaches. I was lucky enough to be gifted one this past Christmas.
|My Cold Frame – You can see the seedlings love it.
|What I have is actually called an “elevated patio grow house” – http://www.gardeners.com/Elevated-Patio-Grow-House/40-218,default,pd.html?start=8&cgid=Seedstarting_Dept and is sold by Gardener’s Supply – http://www.gardeners.com/ . However, a cold frame is really just any structure that works as a miniature greenhouse. It catches the suns heat through transparent glass (or in this case plastic) and keeps the seedlings and dirt warm. The temperature at which seeds germinate is really all over the map, but a good rule of thumb seems to be that most will germinate when the dirt is between 60 and 75 degrees.
I’ve had great luck with mine so far this
spring (wait…. it isn’t spring yet, is it? Oh Arizona…. you mess with my mind) winter.
Cold frames can be easily constructed at home, using wood and an old window (if you are one of those people that has old windows just sitting around). Here is a picture from This Old House – http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20417543,00.html of one made this way.
I’ve also seen cold frames constructed from flexible pipe and plastic. Such as this one – http://www.diynetwork.com/outdoors/growing-food-through-the-cold-season/pictures/page-5.html pictured below. Though structures such as these are often also called hoop houses or polytunnels. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polytunnel
Whatever method you choose, getting a jump start on growing and having the ability to extend your season can really increase your yield. I’m hoping to do both this year.
If you have any experience or advice, please leave it in the comments!
Standard, legally required, Endorsement Disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.