Senior Gardening

One of the Joys of Maturity

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A Simple Cold Frame
October 27, 2008

A simple cold frame is a great tool to extend the gardening season. In the spring such a frame can give tender young seedlings a head start outdoors until the weather is ready for transplanting into the garden. In the fall a cold frame can protect low-growing plants such as lettuce well beyond the first frost ends the regular gardening season.

Cold Frame

I built my first cold frames years ago when we were farming (and gardening). I built them large and sturdy, but they were almost too heavy to carry from place to place. The cold frame shown above is a smaller one I put together several years ago based on my experiences on the farm. It measures just 3'x6'x24". The ones I made on the farm were 12' long and made with 2x6's instead of 2x4's. But this time around, I did use pressure treated (pt) lumber to control decay.

Here are my plans. Admittedly, they are a bit rough, but should give you the idea.

cold frame base

Base - Top View

cold frame side

Side View

*Note: I used 24" uprights on one side and 23 1/2" on the other side to give a bit of slope to the top. There's also a slight angle on the cut on the tops. Since the plastic sags under the weight of rain, it really only helps minimally for shedding rain.

cold frame end end photo

End View

Wherever I could, I doubled the lumber to reinforce the frame.



side photo

Once you have your frame constructed, it's just a matter of stapling heavy (6 mil), clear plastic over it to finish it. You may wish to add carpet scraps at the top corners, as it only takes one sharp edge to tear the plastic.

measure plastic Staple
I roll out the plastic and lay the frame across it instead of using a ruler or tape measure. Fold up the sides and staple. Trim the plastic where necessary.

Into the garden

Having gone through all of this feature, and considering the cost of lumber, you might just want to order a commercial cold frame.

From the at Senior Gardening



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