Getting Started With A Cold Frame

cold frame 

Taste spring sooner-- build yourself a cold frame!  

We finally had a chance to get into the yard.  The snow melted away revealing a handy, ready-to-use structure.

Last fall we built a cold frame and positioned it against the south facing exterior of our home.  This is the first time we have ever built or used a cold frame.   Because we live in a Zone 3 climate, we thought it was essential to consider ways to extend the growing season.  Typically in Alberta, we do not plant our vegetables into the ground until the end of May!  But now, with the aide of this simple structure, we will be relishing tasty spring greens long before that.

A cold frame acts as a mini-greenhouse, trapping heat and moisture in-- while keeping wind and chilly weather out!  Once our greens are harvested, we can place our seedling into the cold frame to harden-off before transplanting.

 Our cold frame measures 2 1/2 feet x 3 feet and is constructed of an old window and scrap wood.  What a wonderful way to re-purpose items that otherwise might end up in the trash.  There are many quick and easy designs that you can use if you are thinking of constructing one yourself.  Find one that suits your needs and your space!

 In the article, "Use Cold Frames to Grow More Food" we discovered the best 12 cold frame crops.  This really helped us decide what to plant.  We chose two types of lettuce- cos and red butterhead, as well as spring arugula and watermelon radish.  What a feast it will be! 

Liesl and Myles are from Alberta, Canada.  You can also find them on Nest. 

Photo: Flickr/Styro