Cold frames have been known as the “poor man’s greenhouse”.
They’re called “cold” because they do not provide any heat internally. Cold frames are warmed by the sun. A benefit of a cold frame is that you can grow cool season vegetables and flowers early in the season, as early as 4-6 weeks before your growing zone is officially frost-free, and on into the winter months.
A cold frame is a great natural way to transition seedlings that you’ve started indoors. By “transition” we mean giving the seedlings a area with a little more room to grow, preparing them for the harsher conditions of the outside world beyond the greenhouse. Great for collecting warm sunlight and providing protection and ventilation all at once, cold frames can be thought of as a “dorm” for your young plants before they move out on their own into the garden.
These are typically made of a combination of lightweight metal framing and plastic. This gives them great flexibility of use and makes for easy storage in the off-season.
But there are also other, simpler cold frame options available for gardeners in small spaces. They can be made very simply from scrap lumber or hay bales covered with old window sashes. Using four rectangular bales of hay and an intact window frame. Arrange the hay bales so that they form a square with a space in the center of a size that can be covered by laying the window frame flat on top. The hay will provide insulation and the window frame will let in light. Just remember when it’s sunny to prop the window open with a brick to provide adequate ventilation this way you don’t “cook” your plants, and don’t forget to water.
Cold frames and the temperatures
The small growing tool similar to a box, known as a cold frame, to meet your needs in growing seeds, needs to use the heat and the cold. It will also extend your gardening season. Banking helps insulate the cold frame from heat and cold, is done but putting dirt along the edges of the box.
Preventing weather from affecting seedlings and your plants, a helpful tip would be to place a large sheet of paper, and a way of knowing if the cold weather will be able to get to your plants and seedlings, is if you can pull that same piece of paper out when the lid is closed. If the cold weather is able to get to your plants and seedlings, which will more likely shorten their lives a little more.
If temperatures below twenty or heavy frosts are coming your way, a good idea would be to at the top of the cold frame stopping the cold air to transfer in through the glass to the cold frame, place a cloth over top it. Also when you start your gardens early seeing radishes, lettuce and what ever you planted, pop out of the soil, during early spring, the temperatures are very cold, and protecting your plants by using the cloth would be a very smart thing to do.
Closing the frame before the sun goes down, and then place a blanket on the cold frame, leaving it like this until the morning will give extra protection, and will keep the heat in the cold frame for your plants. Having a cold frame that is as large as you want, say one foot by one foot and can handle with a lid, keep in mind.
A great way to have a variety of vegetables that are able to enjoy by June, is that for those avid gardeners, build your self a cold frame, which is five foot by two foot. If you are a person that is growing plants, or seedlings, that are going to require temperatures that are much higher, or changing a cold frame to a hot bed, by adding light and also heat.
However hot beds are highly more expensive and are fancier. Some, are not though, it depends on the types of plants you would like to start. It also depends what the environment is like around where you live. By using bricks to frame that box of a hot bed, is a similar way as to the cold frame. The bricks will act as if it is a sun collector, or holder. It will hold the heat and also hold the temperature, though out the night, longer. Also, the hot bed will be at I higher temperature, than as the cold frame.