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An Easy Cold Frame Design for Green Gardening Barry

A good, simple cold frame design is one which is easy to make and easy to use. Having a cold frame is a great way to extend the growing season for your home grown crops.

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An Easy Cold Frame Design for Green Gardening

An Easy Cold Frame Design

A good, simple cold frame design is one which is easy to make and easy to use. Having a cold frame is a great way to extend the growing season for your home grown crops.

Many salad vegetables can be started in cold frames quite early in the season and some can even be grown right through the winter in many temperate regions, so a cold frame is a great asset for anyone who wants to grow more of their own food.

Cold frame designs are many and you will find plenty of choice if you are prepared to pay.

An easy cold frame design

A simple wooden cold frame design

Good cold frame design - what to look for

So what's good to look for in a cold frame design? Is there anything much to choose between them?

As ever, the answer depends upon what you want. Some people will want something which works like a mini greenhouse for growing crops; others will just want a garden cold frame for hardening off plants to prepare them for planting out.

Here are a few things to consider when searching for the best cold frame design for you and for a greener lifestyle, whatever your needs.

  • A good cold frame should have ample room for pots and seed trays. There should be removable glass "lights" (windows). The glass helps to keep the plants warm and wind-proof in poor weather and can be removed or opened in warmer weather so that plants do not dry out or frazzle in the heat.
  • There should be a gentle slope to the glass so that water runs off easily - 10 to 15 degrees from the horizontal is enough.
  • The frame should be made from something durable and sturdy.
  • Think about weight if you will want to move your cold frame about much. Commercial aluminium designs are good in that they are light-weight and yet sturdy. There are many new available which may prove durable and eco-friendly.
  • Think, too, about how much height you will need for your plants. If you are mainly going to use your cold frame for seed trays and lettuces you might be able to manage with a shallow box.

Cold frame design: Choosing a site

You should put your cold frame where it will be sheltered from frost and rough weather and where it will get plenty of light. The ground should be fairly flat or slightly sloped towards the sun. Make sure that the soil on your chosen site is well drained and fertile.

Alternatively, you can provide soil and compost from elsewhere and dig a bed to suit your purposes. If you are planning on growing plants directly in the soil it is best to give this some thought. Check the soil pH (acid/alkaline balance). You can do this with a simple test kit, available from most garden centres and Amazon.

If you are mainly going to be using plants in trays and pots then soil quality is not so important. You could even site your cold frame on gravel or any other free-draining surface if you are just going for pots and other containers.

Here's how to plan a cold frame on soil

First prepare your ground. Dig the soil thoroughly t...

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