Expand Your Season with Cold Frames

Home Depot
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Difficulty: Beginner
Duration: 2-4 hours

 

Cold Frames | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Cold frames are a clever way to add months onto your growing season, overwinter plants and to start seeds. Cold frames protect plants with four walls and a transparent cover for letting in warm sunlight and keeping out cold wind, freezing rain and snow.

Some plants do better in cold frames than others. Low-growing, cool-season crops such as lettuces work great.

Set Up a Season-Extending Cold Frame

  1. Choose a kit or build a DIY cold frame big enough to suit your needs.
  2. Select a south-facing site with good drainage.
  3. Dig out the top 9-10 feet of soil. Replace with 3-4 feet of gravel and top off with 6 feet of topsoil.
  4. Plant small plants or set pots or flats on top of the soil.
  5. Monitor the temperature inside the frame to keep it on the cool side. The temperature should be below 75°F for summer plants and below 65°F for cool-weather plants.
  6. Use the lid on your cold frame to maintain internal temperature. Raise the lid when the temperature hits 40°F or above, so the heat doesn’t build up and cook your plants. Close it in the afternoon to trap warmth overnight.
  7. Add extra insulation on the top of the cold frame to reserve heat on extremely cold nights. Use blankets, straw or newspaper. Snow also works as a natural insulator, but be sure to avoid a heavy pile-up.

Tip: Do not use glass for your cold frame if you live in an area that gets heavy snow, as it may break under the weight.

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