Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spring Garden Project #2 The Cold Frame

It was hard to guess whether Spring Project #2 or Spring Project #3 would be finished first. And it's Spring Project #2 by a nose!.. I gave Tim lots of picture of cold frames and turned him loose. And this is what he came up with.

We have plenty of sidewalk that was not being used, so we decided this would be a good spot. Our good friends John and Sandy who own a greenhouse and landscape business were unfortunate enough this winter to lose the greenhouses to the weight of the snow. But I made out extremely well inheriting scraps of the special roofing. I had saved a Plexiglas storm panel which would have worked well, but this stuff is the real thing! I have a mini greenhouse.

All that is left to do is install an automatic opener and a thermometer and it will be fully functional. Just the moisture of the wood and the gravel underneath fogged the surface right up. Tim sized it to fit 8 of my largest flats. Now I can start annuals and vegetables in here. I plan on picking up a load at the green house this weekend, and if we get a frost, I can just move any hanging baskets or potted plants in here. I am looking forward to discovering many new uses for my cold frame. Thank you Honey! You have out done yourself yet again.


  1. Cool!
    I assume the walls are insulated in some way, or no? And the automatic opener senses too high of heat?

    Great, now I'll be up all night researching cold frames!! ;-)

  2. No, the walls are just thick wood, the frames are mortise and tenoned, and the planks tongue and grooved to float in the walls.

    Yesterday, unvented, it reached interior temperatures of 130* which pegged the "normal" thermometer, so Tim put the oven thermometer in and it was over 140* The planks on the back wall each shrunk about 1/2 inch. So the wood will soon be "kiln dried"! In the summer we can use it as a solar oven!!!

    The automatic openers are cylinders filled with wax which expands and contracts with the temps. They will begin to open around 70*. Tim is fiddling to figure out the best way to mount them so I can release them easily to water etc.

  3. Footnote: We find it so fascinating, the neighbors came over last evening, and we all sat around it in lawn chairs admiring and marveling at this feat of garden engineering. Obviously we will have to master it's mood swings before we entrust anything alive to it.

  4. Have you worked out the temperature "bugs" on the venting system?

  5. Temperature adjust ments have been put on hold with Garden Projects 3 and 4 taking precedence. I do have a flat of sweet corn starting in there with the lid off. We have hot temperatures this week, and the open frame on thre gravel holds just the right amount of heat, blocks the wind and lets the rain in.