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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Post  Patty from Yorktown 3/21/2010, 9:15 am

Hi,

I am reporting in on my first failure of my cold frame. I forgot about a tray of baby lettuce I put in the frame overnight and our day time temperature hit 82 degrees. I roasted most of my seedlings. A few that were in shadow might survive. I can still plant again as it is early, sigh, I knew better.

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COLD FRAMES - Page 2 Empty An inexpensive cold frame

Post  camprn 11/28/2010, 10:42 pm

The author suggests repurposing IKEA shelving, I would use cheap rough cut lumber, or anything else cheap DIY Cold frame
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Post  Odd Duck 11/29/2010, 10:21 am

I went down to a local salvage yard and bought cheap windows as close to the right size as possible without going oversized ($10.00 each for double paned that were 32"x38"), then built boxes out of lumber to fit the windows. The boxes are just the outside frame, made with 2"x6" lumber and they are stackable as many high as I need. The windows just lay on top. I was going to hinge them and latch them in case of high winds, but they are heavy enough I realized it shouldn't matter. Any wind that is going to take them, is going to take the whole garden. I could have gotten fancier and lined them with rigid foam insulation, but I don't think I need that much protection in my area. All my cold crops were fine. They would freeze the edges of leaves that were actually touching the glass, but otherwise were great. I was able to harvest lettuce and carrots right through winter (in rather limited quantities).

I just dig out the bed a little and pile it on the north side so the south edge of the frame is lower and the box is angled to the sun a bit. I slide the window up or down (so it partially hangs off the frame) to vent or remove it completely on really warm, sunny days. I've germinated and grown lettuce, carrots, beets, radishes, broccoli, raab, hmm, can't remember what all, inside these frames.

At the time, I also bought screens frames that were about the same size (had to re-screen them - total cost with 2 frames and do-it-yourself screen was around $13.00) thinking I would need to keep the birds from stealing seeds or the screen could be used on really warm days to just barely warm the beds a smidgen (thinking the frame and screen would tend to slow the wind a bit), but find that I really don't use the screens to speak of and need to re-purpose those. Maybe I'll reinforce the corners and change the window screen for 1/2" hail screen so I can sift compost, hmmm . . . . . .or maybe I could just add some plastic over the screen and have more cold frames! That would even keep the leaves from touching the outside. Yep, that's going to be tonight's project, I've already got the plastic.

Thanks, camprn for bringing this thread back up!
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COLD FRAMES - Page 2 Empty Another Cold Frame design & How to.

Post  camprn 1/2/2011, 5:21 pm

Cold frame <~~~ by This Old House folk.COLD FRAMES - Page 2 00-cold-frame-x
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Post  camprn 3/7/2011, 7:49 pm

Bump
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Post  quiltbea 3/7/2011, 8:06 pm

Odd Duck,
I've been perusing the sites to find a type I can make for myself.
Like you, I plan to put my 1x2x12" high lumber on a slant so the southern side gets more sun and its higher at the north end.

I've been stymied in getting old storm windows for it. No salvage yard around here that I know about and the guy on craigslist that had some for sale never followed up with me to give me directions to his place. I'm hoping to find an old window so I know what size to make the base.

If all else fails, I think I can make a top with 1x2 poles cut to size and tack a layer of heavy clear plastic on the top and in the winter, I'll add a layer to the underside to extend cool-weather crops into early winter.

I can't wait to get one made.
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Post  camprn 3/7/2011, 8:29 pm

quiltbea wrote:
I've been stymied in getting old storm windows for it. No salvage yard around here that I know about and the guy on craigslist that had some for sale never followed up with me to give me directions to his place. I'm hoping to find an old window so I know what size to make the base.
I can't wait to get one made.

I get all sorts of windows at the dump.
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Post  boffer 3/7/2011, 9:21 pm

quiltbea wrote:I've been stymied in getting old storm windows for it.

Any chance there's a glass shop nearby? My local glass store sells the sliding glass patio doors that they replace for $10. That means they're also tempered, which to me is a big plus.
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Post  camprn 1/12/2012, 5:24 am

Bump... another DIY Cold Frame project. sunny

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Post  quiltbea 1/12/2012, 10:28 am

boffer, tried the local glass repair shop and they don't have any and don't keep them. We don't have a local dump.

I ended up building mine with 12" wide lumber and made the cover with 1"x2"s and plastic. Works well but I really want something clear and solid over the top for when it rains. The rain sags the plastic down a bit and puddles so I have to lift and empty it. I'm thinking plexiglass this spring unless I can come up with some old windows.

COLD FRAMES - Page 2 05-18-11

Above: cold frame with green and red lettuces, spinach, mache, and mizuna planted.
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Post  walshevak 1/12/2012, 10:44 am

snip "tried the local glass repair shop and they don't have any and don't keep them."

Would they take your name and number and let you know if they a replacement that would have some.

Kay

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Post  janezee 1/12/2012, 3:07 pm

quiltbea wrote:boffer, tried the local glass repair shop and they don't have any and don't keep them. We don't have a local dump.

qb, have you looked for a freecycle in your area?
I don't even remember how I found mine, but I joined, and get email every time someone wants to get rid of something for free. I've gotten the frame for my greenhouse (not what it was designed for), a soil sifter, 100' of fencing, a greenhouse window that attaches to a house window, and wood and hardware cloth, just because someone else didn't need it. Yes, they were unusual scores, but you can also post for stuff you want. You never know who has this stuff just laying around, and they're too 'unmotivated' to get rid of it, especially if you don't have a local dump.
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Post  quiltbea 1/12/2012, 7:22 pm

Walshevak.....The glass company just breaks the glass and tosses it in recycle and won't work with me on this. I asked.

janezee.....I'm already a member of Freecycle and nothing has come up and no one has come forward yet. I also watch craigslist all the time in case I can find something really cheap.

Something will turn up eventually to improve my coldframe needs, but in the meantime, it won't stop me getting starting with my spring crops in March.

Thanks for you interest and suggestions.
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Post  janezee 1/12/2012, 11:53 pm

qb,
Funny, I was just thinking of some great a-frames with vinyl and clips I saw somewhere,


And then I remembered that they're yours!!!! rofl

I guess that this is a great time to tell you that I love them and am stealing using that idea in March.
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Post  quiltbea 1/13/2012, 1:17 am

janezee......You're welcome to 'steal' the idea and plans anytime. I made it so easily with four 6' long 1x2's, vinyl plastic, large binder clips, tacks and wire to secure the teepee poles at the top and a 4'2" bracing pole across the top. The tute is in my quiltbeagardens blog.

COLD FRAMES - Page 2 03-31-11

I put this together on 3/18 and sowed seeds. It sure made it easy to start early crops like radishes, lettuces, carrots, spinach and other greens long before normal.

COLD FRAMES - Page 2 04-17-10

Here is is keeping my newly sown crops safe in mid-April after a snowfall and cold weather. Note: The A-frame came down in a bad Oct windstorm so my son screwed the 1x2's into the inside of the raised beds. It holds up fine now.
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Post  camprn 11/20/2013, 9:16 pm

Cold Frame
http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/garden-with-cold-frames.aspx#axzz2lF4q64pM


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COLD FRAMES - Page 2 WxBanner?bannertype=wu_clean2day_cond&airportcode=KEEN&ForcedCity=Keene&ForcedState=NH&zipcode=03431&language=EN
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COLD FRAMES - Page 2 Empty cold frame

Post  cyclonegardener 11/23/2013, 11:42 am

Last night, temps were around 16 degrees and the cold frame didn't go below 30 degrees. Thermal mass helps as does row covers beneath the lights. Tonight will be the test. Supposed to get 10 degrees colder.
I have lettuce that's about 3/4 ready to pick and I'm seeing how long I can keep them. I think they are still growing a little. I also am experimenting with radishes to see how cold they can last. Cold frames are a great way to test the limits of vegetables. I recommend before settling in on a plan with cold frames to push the envelope in your particular area. Then you will know what works and what doesn't.
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 11/23/2013, 1:23 pm

I bought this book earlier this fall, he grows veggies all year around with his lowest outside temps having been I think -15 and using no electricity etc.

http://www.rakuten.com/prod/backyard-winter-gardening/243560941.html?listingId=-1&s_kwcid=

He has a full list of varieties that he has winter tested with seed sources and he sells seed himself.  I thought the book was worth the price for this list alone.  Because of my zone 8A temps, a lot of what he has to grow in cold frames I will be able to grow without protection here.

Good luck!
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COLD FRAMES - Page 2 Empty Thanks Audrey for the link

Post  cyclonegardener 11/23/2013, 2:33 pm

There's just so much out there.
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Post  jimmy cee 11/25/2013, 8:03 am

Living in an older house with remodeling for that many years, planks, wood, etc, has accumulated over the years.
Last fall I put together this very simple cold frame..using most all of this saved material.
I made it so I'm able to use it to also grow in summer.
So far this season I have only experimented with plants that thrive in cool weather.
Biggest problem I need to address is the bugs.
I need to close it up with netting, nothing inside needed pollinators so I should be able to completely shield next seasons plants.
COLD FRAMES - Page 2 Planti10
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Post  jimmy cee 3/24/2014, 9:10 am

My temps on 3/24/14
40 degrees F  down 3 inches inside my cold frame...
COLD FRAMES - Page 2 Temp_10
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Post  jimmy cee 3/24/2014, 9:13 am

My cold frame sure is a cold one.
Thawed out about 2 weeks ago, however temperature 3 inches down is 40 deg F.
Not planting anything till it gets to 50 - 55 deg F
COLD FRAMES - Page 2 Temp_11
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Post  CapeCoddess 3/24/2014, 3:40 pm

These are what I use for 'cold frames', spring & fall.  This photo is from the very end of winter 2013:COLD FRAMES - Page 2 Photo125

I used the windows to warm the MM. Later I direct planted seeds and seedlings into these boxes under cover, some squares being use as a nursery for later transplanting.

We are at least 2 wks behind this year so right now I have only one box covered that I planted with spinach & pea seeds last weekend. 

The spring leafies will be going out next weekend most likely with covers at night only....I hope. Rolling Eyes 

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Post  sanderson 3/24/2014, 3:44 pm

CC, If my memory serves me, the white boxes were free, re-purposed cabinets?? Even if you have to replace, rebuild or prop up now, that was an economical idea to use free!
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Post  CapeCoddess 3/24/2014, 3:58 pm

Yes, that's exactly right!  They were practically new kitchen cabinets that my 'new' neighbor was throwing out in the fall of 2011 when she redid her new house.  The builders even brought them over for me since they were happy to avoid the dump fee. This will be their 3rd yr and they do need some propping up here and there but I have certainly got my money's worth out of them! 
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