My cold frame (Part 1)
My cold frame (Part 1)
Impressive. Did you build it? Handy location too.
Thank you both.
Yes, Cville_Gardener I built it.
And yes, handy location – south orientation; sun, from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.
I'd love one. Mine wouldn't be in quite that handy of a location but it would be facing south and against a brick house. One of these days I am going to find someone to build it. Yours is very inspiring!
>Mine wouldn't be in quite that handy of a location but it would be facing south and against a brick house.
Mine is also facing south and against the brick house. I have sun from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.
>One of these days I am going to find someone to build it.
I’m sure it won’t be difficult to find someone. Good luck and post the pictures!
>Yours is very inspiring!
Happy to hear that. Tx.
Looks like the Cadillac of cold frames, Dan.
It is a little higher than most, is it to avoid bending over? I was thinking that the extra height would let you put jugs of water underneath to help conserve heat, so maybe you wouldn't need the lights to warm it on cold evenings.
Tx newyorkrita and DonShirer for your nice words.
DonShirer wrote: > It is a little higher than most, is it to avoid bending over?
No, the reason I made the cold frame 4’ high in the back and 3’ high in the front was, because I want to have 2-3’ high seedlings. The plan is to do Trench Planting - L shape method: 1 ft. horizontal - for more roots - and 2 ft. vertical - to avoid splashing on leaves. Yes, there will also be straw bail mulch, but…
I am able to do that by removing one by one those short 2 x 4’’ so I can lower the pots’ support. Please see the three pictures on my post My cold frame (Part 4.) No, not the one with the black cover. Just kidding.
>I was thinking that the extra height would let you put jugs of water underneath to help conserve heat, so maybe you wouldn't need the lights to warm it on cold evenings.
I thought about jugs of water, I even thought about ˝’’ transparent plastic tubbing placed on the top of cowpots, between the seedlings, but I decided that warming with lights is the best solution. Simple and efficient. The Lux WIN100 Thermostat allows me to have a constant, desired temperature during the night. I wouldn't be able to do that with water jugs. Please see the picture in the middle in my post My cold frame (Part 2)
Question: any of the people who commented or simply saw my initial post, have a cold frame? Can you post pictures if you do?
I only have a small portable one. It extends the season (or starts it early) a bit but doesn't hold much. Mostly sort of covers things. But the portability is nice.
My old cold frame was disintegrating and I needed more room anyway, so two years ago I got one of those pop-up greenhouses I erect on a SW facing porch in March.
DonShirer, can you post some pictures of your pop-up greenhouse?
I have four very light weight aluminum frames, I use them for cold frames as necessary. I only have one permanent box built that I use one of the aluminum frames on top of. The other three I simply use directly on the ground. I have just built new raised beds for the frames to set on this winter, thinking about adding the wood frames just for the extra plant height it would allow. The aluminum is so light weight I can pick them up and move they any where very easily. I used to attach the plastic cover to the frames, but that made storage a problem. So l learned to just staple the plastic to long 2"x2" pieces of lumber then I could lay them over the aluminum frames as needed in the winter, and roll them up like a scroll and store them in the summer.
The first two pictures show the cold frames covered when the temp gets below 30 degrees at night.
The last picture shows the plastic that is stapled to the 2"x2" strips and laid over the aluminum frame (just like putting the cover over it).
The middle two pictures show the inside of the cold frame.
This message was edited May 3, 2013 7:52 AM
Seedfork, tx for posting the pictures.
A few comments / suggestions if I may:
I see you use plastic pots. I use
The soil breathes easier, and at transplanting you can use the pot as fertilizer.
Here you can see the difference between plastic pots and cowpots.
I siggest you to paint the coldframes with exterior paint. It will look nicer, and it will last longer.
I see you have a thermometer in the frame. Good idea, but make sure you place it in a place where is shade or cover it with a carton box – with some holes. The idea is to avoid direct sun, because you will not have accurate readings.
Replace the plastic cover with clear twinwall polycarbonate
It’s pretty cheap, better light penetration, safer.
Btw, did you think of buying a cold frame?
1. I use plastic pots because I get them for free most of the time from the nursery up the street, they use plastic pots and then I recycle them over and over. I think that is good for the environment too.
2. My plants don't seem to be affected by any lack of oxygen, and instead of using the pot for fertilizer I plant into my garden soil with lots of compost, the plants seem to love it.
3. Also I never allow my plants that are going into the garden to get anywhere near as large at that picture shows, so there would be very little if any difference in plant size when the plants are taken out of the pots for planting.
4. I am still pondering the color to paint the cold frame, any color suggestions that make the plants grow better?
5.I do have a thermometer in the cold frame, but I only use it to check the low temps. in the early morning during the winter, I actually never even look at it most of the time.
6. At nearly $60.00 a panel, I will stick with the plastic. Safer? I guess I was not aware that the plastic I was using was dangerous. Better light penetration, maybe so, but once again, maybe better light penetration would make a big difference if the plants were grown in there over a long period of time. I have found that my plants in the cold frame grow better than my plants inside under shop lights, the cold frames being cheap allows me much more room to grow more plants and I am not limited to just a half dozen of so.
7. No, I never considered buying a cold frame, but I have thought about getting a greenhouse one day. My cold frames let me get about a one month jump on the season, they let me get my tomatoes and peppers etc. off to a great start and I enjoy using them, but the main thing is they have allowed me to grow some great looking plants.
Anyhow, your cold frame is the best one I have seen anyone take the time and effort to make, I think you did a fantastic job I am sure you will get many happy years of use out of it and grow some wonderful plants in it. Do you have pictures of your garden?
This message was edited May 3, 2013 12:25 PM
This message was edited May 3, 2013 12:31 PM
>I am still pondering the color to paint the cold frame, any color suggestions that make the plants grow better?
I was told white is a good color.
>Safer? I guess I was not aware that the plastic I was using was dangerous.
Safer in the sense that plastic foil can be damaged easier than polycarbonate. I apologize but English is not my native language, so maybe I should use another word, but that’s my meaning.
>No, I never considered buying a cold frame, but I have thought about getting a greenhouse one day.
If you have space, a greenhouse is a very good idea.
Thank you for your nice words, regarding my cold frame.
Currently there is nothing in my garden, but soon I’ll post a few pictures anyway.
White for light to add to daylength abilities. Red ? To change the light spectrum to one favorable to eggplants/tomatoes. Silver same as white. Avoid yellow, since it attracts many bad bugs? Green to please me. Chuckl.
What happened was a malfunction of openining the lid – not Univent’s fault, my improvisation’s fault, trying to open bigger. Few hours later, when I came home the lid was closed and 137’ F inside.
What do you think I could do?
I have had similar things happen, the headt cooked a batch of Marigolds in my cold frame once, they looked pretty much done for like your plants. But being it was late in the season and I really had no dire need for them, I just watered them well and kept them in dappled shade. Within two of three days the Marigolds sprung right back and did fine. I don't know what kind of plants those are of yours, they may respond to water and shade and you may have to just start over. Keep us posted on how they turn out.
I did that once to tomatoes, let the temp get up to 130, the darned things grew about three inches and looked great, but they had been watered very well early that morning and the inside of the plastic was covered in moisture when I opened the cover, it was like a sauna. So I guess it will depend on the particular plant.
The plants inside are tomatoes:
Bush Big Boy
Fourth of July
Giant Belgium Pink
Husky Cherry Red
Mortgage Lifter (Grafted)
Super Sweet 100
Sweet Million Cherry
Oh no! Oh geez! Your poor tomatoes and they were looking so very good before. I nice list selection you had also.
I always try to keep back up plants just in case. All my early tomatoes planted out in the garden down in my bog area died from a late freeze this year. I had enough plants left in my cold frame to replace them. They are only about half the size of the ones in the upper garden that did not freeze, but they are looking great now.I still have 15 tomato plants sitting on the deck railing getting very lanky. My Uncle is suppose to come pick them up, but he may not want them one he sees how lanky they have gotten. I did see a interesting hint the other day for lanky tomato plants. It said to lay them on the ground for a couple of days and the end would turn up toward the sun, then plant them in a long trench. That way you don't risk breaking the tips when laying them in a trench and trying to get it to stand up straight at the tip.
Lanky Seedling have never bothered me. I just trench them or if not that tall, plant deeply.
If you think you might revive them, soak them with tepid/cool water and see if they'll bounce back. Don't cut any dead leaves off, yet.
Or replant. It's not too late. If you get thrown off a horse, you gotta climb right back on or you'll never be the same.
Is there some way you could lock that lid open?
So sorry this happened to you. The system you built and the plants were great. Don't give up. It's just a bump in the road. That's all.
The main stems look good I think they will be fine, with some TLC. Now I have to look up monster.
They looked SO good!
There is a "Tomato" forum and someone might have a magic trick, if yuou re-post there. But what can they say besides "shade and water"?
>> I always try to keep back up plants just in case.
Smart. And give som e away to neighbors every year, so you can ask for som e BACK if you need them!
Someone, som ewhere, said they saved pruned branches and rooted them as backups and giveaways.
I still plan to make a cold frame, but I dreaed that something HALF as bad as your disaster would happen to me.
I think I read someon e who said that, if you know they may get too hot, keeping them really really humid - like, steamy - will at least keep them from dieing as fast from dehydration.
Are those new plants or did your damaged ones recover?