Weekend DIY Project: How to Build a Cold Frame

Use these step-by-step instructions to build a cold frame and extend your growing season.

| September 28, 2011

  • Self Sufficient Homeowner Cover
     If self-sufficiency is one of your goals and gardening is one of your passions, building a cold frame is a great way to take a step forward in both areas. You can extend your growing season to harvest more fresh food more months of the year, and also have a new place to start seeds and harden off seedlings instead of buying plants in pots each spring. This project, taken from “DIY Projects for the Self-Sufficient Homeowner,” is one of many step-by-step plans in the book that can help you put your DIY skills to use creating a more self-reliant home and lifestyle.
    COVER: CREATIVE PUBLISHING INTERNATIONAL
  • Build A Cold Frame Step 7
    In Step Seven you attach the Plexiglass cover.
    CAROLYN HENRY-JOHNSON/CREATIVE PUBLISHING INTERNATIONAL
  • Build A Cold Frame Step 4
    In Step Four you reinforce the joints of the cold frame.
    CAROLYN HENRY-JOHNSON/CREATIVE PUBLISHING INTERNATIONAL
  • Build A Cold Frame Step 5
    In Step Five you make the lid frame.
    CAROLYN HENRY-JOHNSON/CREATIVE PUBLISHING INTERNATIONAL

  • Self Sufficient Homeowner Cover
  • Build A Cold Frame Step 7
  • Build A Cold Frame Step 4
  • Build A Cold Frame Step 5

Release your inner DIY spirit with the full array of projects designed to help you increase your self-sufficiency in the book DIY Projects for the Self-Sufficient Homeownerby Betsy Matheson Symanietz (Creative Publishing International, 2011). After building the cold frame described in this article, look at the other plans in the book for implementing a composting system, setting up a root cellar, and building a beehive, among others. Each comes with photos to guide you through the complete procedure, making this a great place for beginning DIYers to get started. The following excerpt comes from Chapter Six, “Building a Cold Frame.”  

An inexpensive foray into greenhouse gardening, a cold frame is practical for starting plants six to eight weeks earlier in the growingseason and for hardening off seedlings. Basically, a cold frame is abox set on the ground and topped with glass or plastic. Althoughmechanized models with thermostatically controlled atmospheresand sash that automatically open and close are available, you can easily build a basic cold frame yourself from materials you probably already have around the house.  

The back of the frame should be about twice as tall as the front so the lid slopes to a favorable angle for capturing sunrays. Build the frame tall enough to accommodate the maximum height of the plants before they are removed. The frame can be made of brick, block, plastic, wood, or just about any material you have on hand. It should be built to keep drafts out and soil in. 

If the frame is permanently sited, position it facing south to receive maximum light during winter and spring and to offer protection from wind. Partially burying it takes advantage of the insulation from the earth, but it also can cause water to collect and the direct soil contact will shorten the lifespan of the wood frame parts. Locating your frame near a wall, rock, or building adds additional insulation and protection from the elements.  



TIP: The ideal temperature inside is 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 55 to 65 degrees at night. Keep an inexpensive thermometer in a shaded spot inside the frame for quick reference. A bright spring day can heat a cold frame to as warm as 100 degrees, so prop up or remove the cover as necessary to prevent overheating. And remember, the more you vent, the more you should water. On cold nights, especially when frost is predicted, cover the box with burlap, old quilts, or leaves to keep it warm inside. 

Cold Frame Project Steps 

Find the complete list of tools and materials and a detailed diagram in the DIY Cold Frame Plans






Mother Earth News Fair Schedule 2019

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: February, 16-17 2019
Belton, TX

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard
Free Product Information Classifieds

}