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Cold Framing – a great way to create a mini-greenhouse in your yard

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Cold framing is a great way to create a mini-greenhouse in your yard or garden without the expense or space of a regular greenhouse. Cold frames use the sun as their heat source while a “hotbed” uses artificially introduced heating systems. Cold Framing is great for:

  • Collecting warm sunlight
  • Providing cold weather protection
  • Allowing ventilation
  • Head start on spring growing

Cold frames allow you to get a 4-6 week head start on the growing season. Because of the weather protection and ability to collect sunlight and heat, you can begin growing before your growing zone is officially frost free.

There are several ways to create a cold frame including buying various versions for sale at your local lawn and garden centers. Whether you buy a full kit or the parts at a garden center, it’s really easy to get cold framing going. Besides buying a kit, one of the easiest methods is to simply position 4 bales of hay into a square shape.

Cold Framing   a great way to create a mini greenhouse in your yard

Once in position, you can put an old window frame (with glass intact of course) on top for weather protection or use some form of plastic to cover over. A window frame probably has enough weigh to withstand wind, but if using plastic you’ll want to weight it down with rocks or boards on top of the hay.

Remember to do the following… In the day time when the sun is going full blast, pull the plastic or window frame back partially to allow air circulation or you’ll overheat your plants. Also, remember to water them regularly.

The concept of cold framing is pretty simple so there are many ways to do it. Besides buying kits or using hay, you can build them using all sorts of materials. Examples include:

- Build a wood frame with hinges to allow ventilation.

- Stack bricks and place plastic or a window frame on top.

- Use PVC pipes to build a frame and cover with plastic.

- Use other frame materials such as metal or fiberglass.

Cold Framing is easy and gives you a head start on the growing season.