My new cold Frames

rayinpenn(6)August 28, 2009

The wife and finally cleaned up the side of the house (removed the brush, small trees &* stickers) late spring; Now we finally have a sunnier location that has a pumkin & watermellon patch and oh those zuchinis!! Anyway now that the summer is fading I planted another fall crop of radishes, carrots, spinach and lettuce on 8/1. Yes I am ambitious...I am reading two books by Eliot Coleman on the 4 season garden [Four Season Harvest: Organic vegatables from your home garden all year long] It prompted me to build 2 4X8 cold frames...I live in penn on the Delaware border I plan on planting the same mix in the cold frames on 9/1..

Anyone have any experience/suggestions with cold frames that they can share?? Am I too late for this season??

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Oh, you're definitely not too late! I am in northern Virginia, and last year I planted from August right through the fall. Like you, I had read the Eliot Coleman book and tried to follow it to the letter. My winter garden was great -- much more successful than my garden this summer, actually -- and I had fresh salads all winter. I dug two 4' x 8' beds and covered them with little tent-greenhouses, which I opted for because I couldn't get the cost of the materials for cold frames down low enough. The little tents were just fine -- everything grew through the winter and even survived the coldest weather. Carrots didn't do well, but radishes were okay, and everything that was green grew wonderfully. Don't forget to plant mache and claytonia! They are beautiful, taste great, and are super-easy.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2009 at 2:54PM
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Katfried...Thanks for the encouragement! The coldframes are in (1) with lettuce and spinach and some more carrots Planted on 9/2 which I think will be fine (carrots - we will see?). The other I put over a existing bed of carrots that I planted on 8/1...I think I'll add some more lettuce in there I have some extra space...I About the cost I bought roughly (12) 8' x 6" X 2" boards and (2) 4' x 8' a bunch of hinges, L brackets, deck screws and a (2) plastic drop cloths I think I may have $80 in there all toll. Next spring I'll spring for hard plastic covers (Made for roofing) probably another $60. Ill be on the lookout for old storm windows and wood from now on. It is absolutely too expensive but i justify it by thinking it gets me out of the house in the fall for more than just raking leaves.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 2:23PM
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Maybe the materials for the cold frames seem too expensive now, but they'll last a few seasons, so that's another way to justify it. And of course getting outside is always wonderful. And when you get to go outside on a really wintry day, brush off the snow, & pick fresh vegetables for your dinner -- it's absolutely magical!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 10:20PM
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misterbaby(7a/b TN)

Hi, everybody! Today my wife erected a hothouse for me bought on ebay for $125 delivered. The contrivance looks suprisingly sturdy, once put up, and is 7x7x15 so I've got plenty of room for mistakes. This is my first foray into the fourth season, but I've never been more excited. We set it over two existing raised beds with greens already growing. I'll add onions, potatoes, lettuce, carrots, and other stuff tomorrow. If necessary, I plan to run a line out there to power a small quartz heater. I would have built a cold frame or hoop house myself, but I clearly lack the mechanical aptitude to do so. I don't really understand how a shovel works. Will keep you posted. Misterbaby

    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 8:43PM
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eaglesgarden(6b - se PA)


Great to hear about your cold frames. The biggest pitfall with cold frames is that during very sunny days they can get ridiculously warm! Be sure that you have a method to vent the excess heat on those days. A simple solution is to simply raise the corner of the cold frame in the morning, and close it in the evening.

Best wishes, and be sure to post your results!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 9:14AM
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karen_b(6a s.c. PA)

My husband built a 2x4' coldframe from wood salvaged from our old deck. Over the years I had been salvaging storm windows, and we set the glass in wood frames with an automatic arm for temp control. It worked great last year and was working great until the acorns started falling, they are really big this year because of all of the rain, and shattered the windows. We are going to replace the broken glass with plexiglass. Just something to take into consideration.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 11:28PM
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