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Cold Frames

Posted by sunnyside1 z6/SW Mo. (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 6, 13 at 10:20

I recently bought Eric Coleman's "Four Season Harvest." He lives in Maine and still grows in cold frames, high tunnels, etc. all year long.

Because my fall spinach, parsley, and collards are still alive, at least, with a straw mulch, I started thinking perhaps I could have carrots, beets and lettuces with a cold frame or two in the raised beds.

The design would have to be that I could remove it myself in the spring and store, maybe stacked, in an unobtrusive place. That means the transparent top needs not only to lift, but to come off eventually. Wondering if I could cut down a heavy plastic tote and put a transparent top on? I have someone who will build for me.

Anyone have any experience with this or any ideas??
Sunny


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Cold Frames

I tried cold frames and they didn't work. Where I live you need an automatic vent opener. It's worth the extra money to get one. Otherwise, when you're away from the house at work, it may be a sunny day and 60 degrees outside. If the cold frame isn't vented, it can get over 100 degrees inside and fry everything.

So, get heat-activated vent openers. That's what I have now in my greenhouse, and they work great.


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RE: Cold Frames

sure wish I could show you my garden beds--they are easy to adapt


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RE: Cold Frames

Ceresone put your pictures in photobucket and transfer them here. I want to see your dogs too. Christie made me learn how to post photos way back when I had the copperhead picture.

Sunny those clear plastic tubs will keep your lettuce alive but they look trashy. I think you could play around with some sort of a arch that is covered. You are lucky to have someone who can build. Years ago I had arches of metal conduit stuck in pipe buried in the ground. I didn't keep it up because the plastic was expensive but yours wouldn't have to be that big. Since you are retired, I think you could manage watching the venting. The automatic vents would be good if you do build a permanent structure. Anything I build looks like %^$&*, but I have seen those sheets of greenhouse plastic and wished I knew how to make something of them.


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RE: Cold Frames

Ceresone - have you tried posting a photo since Gardenweb added the Browse feature that's three or four lines above where you type your message/reply? You don't have to put photos on Photobucket first anymore. You can just click on "browse" after you've finished typing your message, find a photo, click on the photo, then click "open" and the address will appear on the line next to the word Browse. The photo won't appear in your message until after you preview. You can only add one photo at a time that way though and I think if you make changes and then preview again, you have to go browse for the photo again.


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RE: Cold Frames

My computer has to think for a long time after I preview if I've added a photo, so I'm not sure you can get it to work if you're using a dial-up connection. Sorry I drifted off-topic by the way.
I wish I had cold frames. I didn't know they made some with automatic vents. Tempting but it sounds expensive.
I don't know if the clear plastic tents would work as well but they would be easy to fold up and store.

Here is a link that might be useful: google images - clear plastic tent cold frame


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RE: Cold Frames

I lost all the pictures on my computer after it crashed a few weeks back-astrange, I was looking up Lee Child books--Mcafee popped up saying dont go there--then everything went black. Restored to a earlier time, but pics are gone. I DO have them all on Snapfish, and on the idigmygarden site, by rare seeds. Should be a way to share-can anyone tell me how?


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RE: Cold Frames

Christie your Google images show all sorts of interesting ideas. Some of them look like my contraptions to beautiful structures and everything in between.

I know what you are thinking Sunny because I have also been wanting to grow salad greens every since I looked at the lettuce pictures at the seed sites. I bought some shallow tubs - concrete mixing tub from Lowes and restaurant bussing tubs from Sam's. I am thinking of trying to grow lettuce on my window sill. You have a crowded greenhouse but maybe you could fit a plastic tub of greens in it.

In spring I often put clear plastic containers over lettuce and they do work if you leave some air gaps. It is the heart of winter now so I think it is early for those.

I think if you had a coldframe that you would make good use of it. It is healthy to be interested in new things and plants make you feel good like pets do.

Christie I have been too stick in the mud to try the new picture loading thing. This is Peggy Who's new addition.


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RE: Cold Frames

Ceresone - I found your album on Baker Creek's forum. Oh my Gosh you have such a nice outdoor area! No wonder you like container gardening. I'm going to try to link it below for others. I think it is about the 7th photo that shows the big wooden boxes that you built. Very nice!
Ok Peggy - Fess up about your new dog. : ) What a good looking face. What kind of dog is it?

Sunny - you mentioned cutting plastic totes but you should be able to find some that are already clear or clearish. Those would nest together when you store them. I've seen some long rectangle shaped totes for storing Christmas trees lately but not sure whether I've seen any clear ones that size. You might check Lowe's or Home Depot. Larger totes like that wouldn't blow away as easily.


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Ceresone's album

Forgot the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ceresone's Album


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RE: Cold Frames

Ceresone I love your covered deck. You should be proud of yourself for getting those boxes. I will have to look up your old posts to learn more about them. Everything looks neat.

I don't know if Peggy Who will show up on here. That dog was much anticipated and my sister was beside herself waiting for it. When I visited they had a 13 yr. old dog that wasn't able to eat without getting sick afterward. When we visited it was always there a constant companion. A day or two after I came home it wasn't eating or drinking so they put it to sleep. They picked out a new red Australian Cattle dog at a breeder and then she was in a bad accident. Finally they got the dog and it is running things - chewing, pooping, peeing and learning tricks.

I use lots of clear plastic tubs outside over plants and inside on my window. They work but you need to store them in a shaded place after you are finished with them because when they are in the sun all summer, they get brittle and break. My friend had plastic totes outside all summer while his house was being repaired after the tornado. I still have some of them but most of them have broken.


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RE: Cold Frames

Great Minds, Ceresone! Yesterday I bought a 20 qt. Sterite container w/clear lid. Took me forever to cut the bottom out (with box cutter), then drilled a hole in each top back end and corresponding holes in the lid, put a couple of cable ties in and now the lid stays on and can be propped up for ventilation. Also drilled two holes on either side of the 1-inch strip I left on bottom of box and pounded two 7-inch skinny spikes to hold the box on the ground for highwind conditions.

The box fits over my two healthy spinach plants perfectly.
How I wish I knew how to show you all a photograph. But I will let you know how the spinach gets along in the colder weather. I'm thinking of piling straw around the box for those conditions. And you're right, Helen - I'm retired and can go out there and prop the lid up or take it down. Have a rock on top to keep the south wind from flipping the lid up.

My friend, the former botanist, who is a greeter at Wal-Mart, saw the box and my plans for it. He was truthful and said he didn't think those spinach plants would make it through our cold winter. That's okay, because I learned to make a small coldframe and will eat my spinach as long as I possibly can.

I'll report on this project later in the month. I've learned a bunch from all your posts. Thank you.
Sunny


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RE: Cold Frames

Peaceful Valley sells these vents:

http://www.groworganic.com/growing-supplies/greenhouses/greenhouse-vent.html

They run from about $60 - $130, so yes, they are a bit expensive, but they do work. But then if a person is retired and can stay home and vent manually, well, that's a horse of a different color.

When I grow up I want to be retired.


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RE: Cold Frames

You could also have an old rug or bags of leaves to throw over it when we get a bad forecast.


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RE: Cold Frames

If you look up the Grownomics page, you'll see the beds they sell. So my Son and I got together, and made these. The legs are 4x4's notched, where the side and end boards slip down into them. the supports holding the 4x4's together, are used to lay the botton boards on. Then, its lined completely with landscape fabric. Everything changes around here--so the beds are made to remove dirt, if I want to--and in 10 minutes the bed dis assembles. Only screws in them is the ones holding the leg supports.


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RE: Cold Frames

I am glad you have a son to help you. You have adapted to changes well. The boxes look great and just what you need to keep your gardening habit going.

I have some scrap lumber nothing is the same size. If I make something you won't be seeing pictures. I just ordered two translucent tarps through Amazon - canopy mart is the vendor. I found the shipping is much cheaper if you order through Amazon even though I don't think these are coming from Amazon-no super saver shipping but at least cheaper. I don't know what I will do with the tarps yet but I will have fun thinking about it.


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RE: Cold Frames

I loved the photos of your deck, Ceresone. The boxes on legs are a brilliant idea. It looks like such a restful place.

"When I grow up, I want to be retired." Oboy, I remember that feeling!! Be patient -- it will come, but you'll have to settle for Being Older in exchange. Farm boy, thanks for the Grow Organic link.

Peggy's going to have fun with that alert boy.

Christie, why don't you make a cold frame like mine? You could make yours bigger and do it a little more like in February -- let us know if you do this. I'm thinking you could start your plants with winter sowing and then transfer them some warm sunny day to the coldframe. That should work!

Helen, I'm even thinking about that clear tarp -- let us know what you do, okay?? And yes, I have a couple of big bags of leaves right there to put over the container about Friday evening --
Sunny


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RE: Cold Frames

If you have a raised bed of manageable size, you might try this approach. I use 1/2 inch PVC pipe cut into 5 ft lengths. Bend them until they fit up against the sides of the raised bed. Make a ridge pole using runs of 1/2 inch PVC pipe and shorter lengths to secure it. I use twine to tie everything together. My raised beds are 4x16ft. I cover them with one sheet of 10x25ft plastic sheeting & secure with rocks, etc. I open the ends every day regardless of the temperature, especially on sunny days. Seems to work just fine.


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RE: Cold Frames

Welcome little kitten. Your plan is something anyone could build. I think it would be great for spring salad vegetables. I may try something like that.


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RE: Cold Frames

littulkittens, I like it -- it's do-able for me to do. Good idea.
Sunny


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RE: Cold Frames

So far, so good. My spinach plants looked pretty good today. This was the day I uncovered the box from the bags of leaves I had over it, and I even propped up the top for a few hours as it was sunny out there today.

These plants went through some really cold temps, freezing rain, and snow in the little experimental cold frame since I made it and put it over existing plants that were barely holding on. I do confess that the lone collard plant, which didn't have any kind of protection, not even piled up loose leaves, is doing pretty well, considering. Looks like it's been through something, though.lol And I noticed I have shoots up from one chard planted in an experimental trough-type planter right against a fence.

Speaking of shoots, does anyone else see tulips and daffs poking up?? No crocus yet, but good to see the growing tips of tulips.
Sunny


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RE: Cold Frames

So far, so good. Spinach is actually growing. Since it is the large leaf, crinkly kind, it really tastes good.

Started Black Seeded Simpson lettuce in a shoebox-coldframe the other day. Probably won't germinate, but it's sort of like winter sowing (?) so maybe it will. Three holes drilled in top with rock on top to hold lid down. No leaf cover when it's cold. We'll see.
Sunny


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RE: Cold Frames

Except for Thursday night's forecasted low of 12, it looks like your spinach might be in the clear. The odds of getting any bitterly cold weather will go down if we can just get through the next couple weeks past mid February. Fine by me. I would like to see a few inches of snow though. I miss it.
My daffs are a few inches tall. It reminded me that I planted a bunch of new ones last year that I need to check for.


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