Where to place a Coldframe???

mtkrvi06October 29, 2012

NEW! We are moving moving and finally able to have a garden! SO excited! Remember all the work I did as a kid....but sadly I didn't pay much attention to the PLANTING part :( I was pulled in for child labor on the harvesting, cleaning, shucking and shelling ;)

I have read a post here about preparing the ground without tilling by using cardboard, newspaper and layering it over time until needed. I KNOW the spot I chose has clay. I could make bricks. I want to use THAT spot for root vegetables (if you guys think I can do it after a winter of preparing the soil with the layer method and heavy composting...we are making bins now)

I want to do my vegetables in an entirely diff spot but the grass is CRAZY thick. My grandfather built this home by hand...he did things for everyone and helped build the school's stadium....then brought the spare sod over and we have LUSH, grass that kids will knock on the door just to ask if they can play football out there :)

(I have all girls but they are happy about having this yard...lol)

I have multiple questions....the cold frame first because I'm a talker and jump topic, so sorry, bear with!!

WHAT side of the house would I need to place this for best results? My husband chose a spot but I'm not liking it. The location? IDEAL for "looks" due to it being right behind our garage, up against cinder block and "he" said he would build up the frame with cinder block to the same size...fill in dirt and then frame it from there so it's all nice looking.....me? I think that's not a bad "idea" but that spot is COLD! (when I say I'm a beginner? I AM but I have a "little" idea from just living that life...I can't help much but instinct is there? make any sense? It just feels WRONG...kinda like wearing gloves when planting...I can't do it....can't FEEL what I'm doing) It's even a cool spot in summer...the ground is a bit sandy/rocky...even though I won't actually PLANT there, will it not be too cold? I noted the sandy bare aspect because I think it's due to little light, cold and damp...I don't want my seeds to mold! (I've noticed I have mixed soil in so many areas).....a barn is directly in front of it so it may block my sun....thoughts? Ideas? I can post some photo's a little later.

WHAT is the easiest way to build a cold frame? We were going to buy all the materials but we SCORED yesterday! I noticed the sun shine off something buried half in the wood-line....of course i am a "trash to treasure" type girl so I wandered (more like waddled...I'm 6 months pregnant at age 37 with number 5 :) ANYWAY, wandered/waddled over and saw a shattered full framed glass door. :( I was so sad. My husband went to pull it up so we could clear it. (I have teen daughters but one IS only 3 so she would be the one to fall in that and get cut). He pulled it up....it was double paned, only ONE side broken! YES! THEN? I not only found a very cute salamander and started a science lesson with the toddler but 3 MORE buried doors....UNtouched but FILTHY! Must clean. SO?

Because of their length, I'm worried about how sturdy they will be. Hubby said to frame up, add hinges and a seal and a handle. hmmm. I think We should frame up the GLASS a little as well so it's got support in the "center"....then hinge and handle. (I CAN use a power saw ;)

WHAT is the process of seed starting in these? ANY time?? Do I have to wait till After Christmas as I've read some say? Is there a list of plants I can start from seed and WHEN to start from seed?

I like "natural" so I would be using homemade seed containers from egg shell cartons and the like. Would they break down before I have a chance to plant my "plant"?

I don't want to start TOO early and my seedlings be TOO large for my frame and end up having to lug them into the laundry/sunroom (husband would SHOOT me....well...not really but he would want to...lol)

Sorry if I'm all over the place with this. I have not gardened even with flowers in so very long and I miss it. My little boy passed away at the age of five, almost 5 years ago (this coming June is 5 years)....I gave up on the yard. I was about a year into working with a family owned nursery...learning plants and getting cuttings and doing my thing. He helped me....I just let it all grow wild or get choked out.

Last week I dug up my bulbs.... I have Hosta, Daylily, lots of woodland plants....Trillium that I had to SCROUNGE for...Ferns, Strawberry Vine, Purple Oxalis (sp? it's been so long I can hardly remember)...Hellabore, Iron Plant (green and aggressive...Not sure if it's the real name but I heard it called that)...I have a LOT of hard to find things that I can still get to and have not died out...I used to know ALL the names but some have escaped me....Can I dig those now or just hope my house doesn't sell before spring (which would be a nightmare as I want OUT from under a mortgage!!!) CAN I move those plants?? Can I dig any and dry them out....save till spring and just wait the 2 years (I'm assuming) for them to come back? SO MUCH TO DO!

The Bulbs are "heirloom" family bulbs. I am NOT leaving my momma's plants here! SO? Gotta figure out whether to dry/store those till later and plant OR to get busy before it's entirely TOO cold now?

*SIGH*....anyone have a headache yet :)

Hope for help. Think I found a good spot to start! I've looked at your plant swap post and saw some faces...wondered if I may know anyone. I would LOVE to become a part of a group that can teach me! I want to be sure MY GIRLS I learn! I am so ready to try and supplement my groceries. I want to grow herbs, food. I want to plant some fruit tree's for when I'm older so my kids have them.

I came from a family that did everything they could by hand. I didn't keep that up :( when I had friends over they wondered why our meat was wrapped in "brown paper" :)

We have 65 acres about 5 miles from the "homestead" as it was called....it had EVERYTHING!!! I used to wake up at darkthirty and go harvest. So fun.....We had our own cows....we kept those in another area of course...sold most but kept "meat" for slaughter. We had chickens, pigs. I think the only thing momma (granny really but she raised me) bought from the "store" was flour, sugar etc. She made EVERYTHING! I just cleaned the butter churn out yesterday that I watched her work over while I played in the yard! I miss her. Quilt racks that were suspended in the ceiling and I can remember my aunt's sitting around it all chatting and working away.

I may never get THAT far in our busy lifestyle but I'm ready to SLOW IT DOWN and teach my kids that life isn't ALL ABOUT processed foods from the grocery and McDonalds. My teens are excited.....my toddler will LOVE it! Husband wasn't raised like I was, he was a military brat and became a soldier. He's all done now and ready to help out....but I cannot depend on much other than "muscle" till I can learn and pass it on.



lemme have it guys. Think newbie, basic carpentry skills....good instincts and learns quickly....retains it fast. I know I have "big plans" but I'm going to start slow...learn as I go and increase.


Getting what I CAN "moved" without killing it from this spot....and it's GROWN UP and out of control. (like random garden plants growing wild in a woods!!! so I want to save what I can)

Getting that cold frame built and seeds started.

Getting my "spots" started with the no till method for spring planting WITH my seedlings. :)

COMPOST help!!!! I need LOTS and we are only using 2 trash bins so any idea how to build a bigger one for the edge of the woods would be helpful too.

Is my post in the right spot....I hated to put all this in "separate" posts all over because I have such limited time on the computer (I mentioned teens right lol) I would love to be able to come "here" and read any tips and if you can LINK me to a good post/read, I can do that too!

Thanks so very very much in advance.

PS----including a photo of the door that now has only "one pane"...you can see a second one beside it that is still a double. (we have 3 double pane and the one that was shattered remains a single)

HOPING that dirt is only on the outside but IF it's on the inside...HOW can I "break" one pane without harming the other?? YES they are NASTY....We were not dressed for yard work so we are going to clean them this weekend. BUT! That's the spot he want's to put them (the cold, dreary spot) He say's it's on the NORTH side of the home....(but there is a barn 10 feet in front and this gets LITTLE sun due to that.

Ignore that ugly wiring! There was an outdoor industrial type light mounted above somewhere and those are coming off!

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Why are you so focused on a coldframe -- on the north side of the house? I doubt it will get enough sun to be productive. Personally, I would forgo the season extension methods until after you get the swing of the local seasons.

It's too late in the year to get anything started for winter except garlic, but many things do fine outdoors in the winter here without protection provided you start them early enough in the fall to reach most of their growth. Cabbage, kohlrabi, collards, spinach and so forth.

With very few exceptions, I direct seed almost everything. I have very little luck with cool weather crops in the spring here -- it just gets too hot too fast -- but peas, radishes, lettuce and other quick varieties will make it before the heat does.

I direct seed cabbage and cauliflower in late Jan (and they don't always make it), lettuce in early Feb and other spring crops like peas, radishes, mustard, Irish potatoes, beets and turnips about Valentine's Day.

Summer crops go in about Easter; fall crops in July and winter crops in August, then back around to garlic in mid to late October.

I suggest you wander over to the ACES web site and indulge your inner elephant's child. They have garden calendars, notes of successful local methods and much more.

At this point in the season, if I were you I would:

- Focus on building compost bins and collecting composting material. There's nothing wrong with a plain old compost pile; no bin necessary.
- Work on other infrastructure, like fencing, sheds and raised beds if you are going to use them.
- A drip irrigation system is a big help here; you may want to plan for that.
- How are you going to preserve your bounty next year? If you have plans for canning, drying, etc., get yourself organized and prepared while it's the off season with drying racks and such. Root cellars don't really work very well here but finding the cool spots in or under your house will help some for potatoes and such.
- Frankly, I'd till up your garden spot now to help kill weed seeds and roots, and rake the grass up and either compost it or burn/trash it. If you have bermuda or a similar grass thug, don't try to compost it! Even if you plan to be no-till in general, it will help get your spot started.

One last thought on homemade seed containers: Like I said, I don't start much indoors now -- more effort than it's worth -- but when I do I use either old nursery pots so that I don't have to transplant them into another pot before they go in the ground, or I have some love wooden seed flats that work better than anything else for a nice mix of moisture retention vs. too wet. I used to make newspaper pots, but I found the plants developed healthier root system when I took the paper off before planting -- the paper didn't biodegrade quite as fast as the plants need root space.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 2:52PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Welcome to Gardenweb. So sorry to hear about your loss.

Not much to add to Nicole's great advice but couldn't pass on without lending mental support to your efforts! It's a good time to move most plants, it JUST stopped being too hot to do so, at least down here, not too far... Whatever you have enough to part with, plan those for that swap. Wish I lived close enough to come to that. From what I've seen here, there's usually a spring and fall one. Can you include something in your sale that preserves your right to retrieve plants, maybe to a particular date? Maybe worth asking about.

Agree that an open pile is a fine way to compost, that's how I've always done it. If it's organic, it'll rot, pile it up and/or spread it around. Also do a lot of sheet composting by sometimes just putting compostables in a bed instead of pile. Just depends on what/when it is. There's also a 55-gallon plastic drum I use to compost dangerous stuff, like live grass that I dig up, trimmings of stuff that can propagate, taproots. I know they'll definitely be killed in that thing. Leaves take up too much room in a pile, so we usually just spread those around the beds, preferably chopped by the mower first. The only things I don't put in there are any kitchen scraps that would make my dog want to tear into things (so we just feed him those outright,) big thorns, the occasional poison ivy sprout, bones, sticks larger than a finger, large quantities of dairy/oily/salty stuff, weeds with seeds. Everyone has their own "rules" depending on their situation and lifestyle. If you have the space, a brush pile is a fine thing to have too, so you can eventually reclaim larger pieces of OM when they have finally broken down.

Sounds like you might already be familiar with the wide variety of forums on Gardenweb... like veggies, propagation, seed starting, soil/mulch, organic. Have you read some of the stuff at the frugal forum? I've gotten a ton of great ideas there, we have plants all around this big yard but spend very little money on doing so.

Your photo didn't make it, which was probably because you edited your comments after selecting it. Happens to a lot of people. When you click "preview" the pic info is no longer in the browse box, so if you edit comments and click preview again, the pic is gone. Try again?

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 11:49AM
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