Need cold frame basic info

cottagegirl_tn(7b)October 27, 2009

I didn't have much luck finding out anything basic about coldframes in the greenhouse forum. Does anyone in TN use one? I have a crude one for the first time this fall and wondered what to do in it? Is it good for overwintering things in pots? How early can you start seeds in the spring? Any other ideas? I'd rather talk to Tennesseeans to see what they are able to do with one.

Jenn F

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I swear there are like 3-4 threads in the top 10 about this same in TN who has one, please help us!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;-)

    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 9:33PM
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That's funny, I've been thinking about it too! I saw some in the Gardener's Supply catalog, but big $$.

Hey, I get the Gardens of Babylon newsletter and they're doing a class about it. I think I deleted the email, but you could call them for info.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 10:06PM
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That would be cool if you could e-mail that to me. =) The ones I am looking at go from $99 to like $189. They are called "greenhouse kits." I hoping to get that, some shelving, a heater & some other supplies for Christmas. I soooo can not wait any I do have some choices i'm not sure about & more info about TN greenhouses of this size would be like totally awesome.

- Steve

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 12:34AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Cold frames are great for overwintering non-hardy and semi-hardy plants and for winter sowing seed.

Be careful with the cheap plastic mini greenhouses. I bought one a couple of years back. It looked like a fairly decent one on the website, but fell apart in less than a year. The clear (actually kind of milky-clear) plastic outlasted the fabric plastic used as the backbone of the structure. A lot of these things are just a pure waste of money.

I saw a neat coldframe on TV the other day. They guy had built it with cinder blocks, made a wood frame for the door, and used one of those translucent fiberglass panels, like they use for roofs, for the door covering. I bet something like that would outlast 20 of those cheap plastic mini greenhouses before you would even have to replace the fiberglass roof/door.

BTW, you may want to consider adding hardware cloth or some type of galvanized wire mesh on the bottom to prevent rodent damage. Rodents will chew right thew plastic and dig underneath blocks to get to seed or potential food in the winter.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 11:18AM
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misterbaby(7a/b TN)

Hi, everybody! I'm new to this whole greenhouse business, but my experience to date may be useful to you. About two weeks ago I ordered a greenhouse on Ebay. It is 7x7x15, so quite sizeable. It cost $125 delivered to my porch. When I opened the box, the parts looked like junk and I thought, "I've been stung once again." Not so. My wife, with some limited help from me and a neighbor, had the thing erected in a half hour, perched over two existing raised beds. In the greenhouse or hoophouse, I now have growing potatoes, tomatoes, herbs, carrots, leeks, lettuce, mustard, radishes, flowers, and onions. I'm also doing a dry run on seed starting of tomatoes and peppers.

So far, so good. The hoophouse has weathered driving wind and rain. It is secured with big, jagged stakes from big box at $1.00 apiece, to which I hooked baling twine running to the ribs. It gets to the high 90's in the day, but the temps fall quickly at night, suggesting the need for a heater of some sort. I plan to try out a small space heater to see if it helps. The plants are all flourishing. Everything new, as in seed potatoes, onions, nasturtium and sweet peas seeds, e.g., jumped out of the ground. This thing is a blast, plus I get compliments on its appearance from discriminating neighbors. I'll post a pic if Mrs. Baby will show me how. Misterbaby (just outside Memphis).

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 5:58PM
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Good Info, misterbaby! Sounds like one of the greenhouses i'm thinking about ordering. Good to know yet another person who's had one where it has outlasted weather conditions fine.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 6:52PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

"About two weeks ago I ordered a greenhouse..."

"When I opened the box, the parts looked like junk..."

"So far, so good."

Mine looked great for the first few weeks too. But after a few months, I realized I'd "been stung once again."

"Good to know yet another person who's had one where it has outlasted weather conditions fine."

ROFLMBO. A week!!! Are you serious? Why not just use straws and Saran wrap?

It might be best to see if you can find someone who's had one in operation for a couple of years at least, but I've got a feeling you won't. There are reasons the cheap ones are cheap. The better ones pay for themselves and are much cheaper in the long run.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2009 at 8:53AM
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LOL! Brandon you certainly have away with words! i'd be interested in how this one holds up too. I saw what I might get this spring at Lowes the other day. It is a special order metal frame, fiberglass panels, vented roof and back wall, nice door. It is designed so you can add on additional sections if you want. I think it was 8 X 16. List price was around $2700 - free freight. i figure I'll have about $3500 in it after wiring, plumbing and mist system. I intend to grow plants to sell so it will be partically tax deductable. I think it will pay for itself in 3 years. I'm saving my money! i added a link to it here

Here is a link that might be useful: greenhouse

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 9:13PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Sometimes I do get "passionate" with my responses. (-;

I wish these greenhouse people would just present the truth/whole story about how long their stuff would last and how well it's made. They also seem to be severely sparse with details. I guess they can't sell em if they said their stuff was junk, but it really makes it hard just looking at pictures and guessing about everything. I think if I get a greenhouse, I'll go to a local commercial greenhouse supplier and at least get their feedback and ideas about what to look for.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 8:46AM
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misterbaby(7a/b TN)

Hi, everybody! Three more weeks have passed, and my $125 unit is still delivering after more bad weather. I'm starting to harvest, and starting to wish I'd ordered two. Maybe next spring after we see how the two-ply reinforced vinyl holds up to the cold and ice. If indeed it winters over okay, I'm thinking I'd rather have 21 of these vs. one of the $2700 units (which clearly is in an altogether different league). Will keep you posted. Misterbaby.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 10:15PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

With cooler temps and less direct sun, I think winter should be the easy part, for durability. The summer months are when I'd expect the most "wear".

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 8:17AM
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