Greenhouse Guide | Supplies
Guide | Grow Light Guide
| Cold Frame Guide
Frame & Mini Greenhouse Guide
Cold Frames and Season Extenders
| What a Cold Frame Does
Using a Cold Frame | Helpful Tips
Cold Frames, Mini Greenhouses, & Season Extenders
Click on a picture or link for prices and more information
||Portable Greenhouses -
Greenhouses feature: Inexpensive portable design (as low as $3 per sq. ft.),
sturdy green steel frame, Durable Solaron woven polyethylene covering, zippered
door, screened vents, anchors.
- Easiest assembly of all greenhouses and cold frames listed (StarterHouse
requires no assembly at all). Features: Durable Gro-Tec reinforced polyethylene
cover and built-in fiberglass frame, zippered access panels, screened vents, anchors,
and custom shade cover.
||Grow Rack - Features: Attractive
green frame, adjustable shelving which maximizes growing space in small areas,
durable UV protected vinyl covering with zippered door.
a Cold Frame Does
A cold frame traps heat by admitting sunlight in during the day
through its covering and retaining heat radiated from the surrounding soil during
the cold night hours. When closed, it also traps moisture inside the structure
cutting down on your watering chores. Cold frames are useful for early planting
of summer annuals and seeds, protecting tender plants in winter, forcing cuttings
to root faster, starting perennials from seed in summer, and growing many kinds
of plants you wouldn't normally be able to grow in your area.
a Cold Frame
The ideal location for a cold frame is a southern or southeastern exposure
with a slight slope to ensure good drainage and maximum solar absorption. A sheltered
spot with a wall or hedge to the north will provide protection against winter
winds. Sinking the frame into the ground somewhat will also provide protection,
using the earth for insulation.
In early spring, a cold frame is useful for hardening-off seedlings
that were started indoors or in a greenhouse. This hardening-off period is important
as seedlings can suffer serious setbacks if they are moved directly from the warmth
and protection of the house to the garden. The cold frame provides a transition
period for gradual adjustment to the outdoor weather. It is also possible to start
cool-weather crops in the cold frame and either transplant them to the garden
or grow them to maturity in the frame.
Spring and summer uses of the cold frame center on plant propagation.
Young seedlings of hardy and half-hardy annuals can be started in a frame many
weeks before they can be started in the open. The soil in a portion of the bed
can be replaced with sand or peat moss or other medium suitable for rooting cuttings
and for starting sweet potato slips.
Fall is also a good time for sowing some cool-weather crops in frames.
If provided with adequate moisture and fertilization, most cool-season crops will
continue to grow through early winter in the protected environment of the cold
frame. Depending on the harshness of the winter and whether or not additional
heating is used, your frame may continue to provide fresh greens, herbs, and root
crops throughout the cold winter months.
may be necessary when a sudden cold snap is expected. A simple method is to throw
burlap sacks filled with leaves over the sash on the frame at night to protect
against freezing, or bales of straw or hay may be stacked against the frame. Heating
cables and mats can also be used to help keep cold frame temperatures in check.
is most critical in the late winter, early spring, and early fall on clear, sunny
days when temperatures rise above 45°F. The sash should be raised partially to
prevent the buildup of extreme temperatures inside the frame. Lower or replace
the sash each day early enough to conserve some heat for the evening.
a cold frame will prevent damage to plants from extreme heat and intensive sunlight
in the summer. Commonly used coverings include lath, old bamboo window blinds,
and knitted shade covers.
should be done early so that plants dry before dark, to help reduce disease problems.
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