Sunday, March 16, 2008

A much needed cold frame

Today's high temperature was 55 degrees and tonight it will get down to 30. Exactly a week ago we got eleven inches of snow. By Thursday is was all melted and the thermometer topped 70!

Last year, the end of March was pretty hot and then we got a week of snow and ice in April! The weather here in northern Kentucky in March and April is always unpredictable. So if you want to be successful early in the garden, you need a good cold frame!

Years ago I had a good cold frame, but since I began intensive gardening again two years ago, I haven't yet managed to get another one. I wanted to make one last year but I was too busy with building the deck and with the vegetable garden re-design.

So this is the year to build some new cold frames! This weekend I gathered up the needed materials for two cold frames and got to work!

So how do you build a cold frame? My favorite cold frame design comes from one of my favorite books that I got back in 1988, called The New Victory Garden by Bob Thompson.

It has been such a long time since I built one that I didn't remember how. Thompson spells out the exact plans for how to make a great 4x4 cold frame that can easily come apart for transport or storage.

It is made with 2x8s or 2x10s. The top or "light" is simply heavy duty 4 mil or 6 mil plastic stretched over fencing. It is pretty simple to build, but it took me a lot longer to build the first one than I thought it would. Here is the finished product:

The bad news is that I didn't have enough time to build the second cold frame. The good news is that now I know exactly how to build it. For the next one, I will take pictures of each step and post step-by-step instructions on how to build this cold frame. I will also write more about how to use a cold frame to harden off plants and how to grow vegetables in a cold frame.

I know I haven't written in a while but I have been very busy preparing this years garden. I will be posting multiple times a week now. Spring is only 4 days away and the garden season is upon us! I want to share with you the pea trellises that I built and my 2008 vegetable line-up. I also want to tell you about the indoor worm bin and the outdoor vermicomposting system I'm starting this year. I need to update you on my early tomato growing efforts and plans for my Dad's memorial garden. Probably the most exciting new category I will be writing about is my new pond/waterfall water garden!

There is so much to write so I will be burning up the keys. I hope you will come back soon to discuss all of this with me.

Spring is almost here! Are you excited?



I love your new cold frame! "The New Victory Garden" is one of the best gardening books ever written---I'm such a geek I actually recognized your design even before you told us where you got the plans :-)

I'll look forward to reading your new posts!


Looks wonderful, your coldframe. If I had a man who was remotely practical I would get him to make one.


I've been thinking about building a cold frame, so thanks for your encouragement. I can't figure out where to put mine, but I hadn't thought about having one that you could take apart for storage when I was done with it. Thanks!


Wow...I love your coldframe!! You rock!

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