Using Starterhouse tents as cold frames
Last fall I researched building cold frames out of all kinds of materials, and everything was expensive, even making one from straw bales. I ended up buying 2 of the little Flowerhouse Starterhouses (4' x 8', 3-ft tall pop-up greenhouse tents) for a great price on eBay, but I wondered how they would do in really cold weather and wind. Early in the season I used to throw blankets over them on really cold nights, but then I stopped doing that.
When the really cold snap (single digits) came 2 weeks ago, I thought the winter gardens were done for, and I didn't look for 4 days. Finally I brushed off the snow and zipped open the flap, and everything was fine -- lettuces, endive, mache, cress, tatsoi, spinach, chard, and claytonia.
The little tents have 4 big zippered windows with 4 little screened windows that zip out of the big ones, so its easy to adjust the openings to fit the temperature. The tents are staked down, and they stood up to some pretty brutal winds. When the warm weather comes, I can fold them up and store them in the zippered cases they came in for the summer. I assume they will be good to go next fall.
Has anyone else used these little tents -- and have you been happy with them? Have they stood up to successive seasons?