Monday, February 2, 2009

Cold Frame Built

Ignore the bits of lunch clinging to her sweet face.
She was too busy to wash up ~ she wanted to get out into the snow.

Photos to follow: the dear, sweet, 2 year old resident "borrowed" the card reader. Ahem. She isn't sure what she did with it... but she usually remembers. If not, she's heading out to buy momma a new one later.
UPDATE: Big sis found it tucked into the sliding door on the front of the computer tower.

This lovely assistant is showing how the venting portion works.

Reading over at Garden Desk, I was especially eager to get the book Marc recommended, The 12 Month Gardener, Simple Strategies for Extending Your Growing Season by Jeff Ashton, because that's where they got the plans for their wonderful greenhouse. I've wanted a greenhouse for a while, but more so since I started reading Fast Grow The Weeds blog.

I ordered the book and read it cover to cover as soon as it arrived last week. It certainly lives up to the great reviews. When you want to try to grow year 'round, you'll need season extenders. Some of them can be extremely pricey, and when hunting for DIY projects, there's just not a lot out there for sturdy greenhouses. Beyond the greenhouse, the book has plans for using basic floating row covers, constructing tunnels, stoop and hoop houses, plus info on using cloches and of course, building a cold frame. I had been saving old windows, but as the book points out, they might not be safe to use with pets, kids and even adults. We'll repurpose those for smaller cold frame projects (straw bales come to mind) that won't be in use where someone could get hurt.

Building the frame took about 4 hours from start to finish. I was really surprised at how big it turned out to be. For some reason, I have a terrible time picturing a completed size. I guess we could have marked out the frame before we built it but really, the book assures us that had we gone smaller, we'd have regretted it. Thankfully, we have lots of room in the yard. All that's left to do is staple the greenhouse wrap on it and start growing. Now that it's done, I'm not so sure that I need a greenhouse after all. I mostly wanted one to start seeds but this cold frame can do that and more. We laid out every flat we have and we only filled it halfway. That leaves plenty of room for moving plants into larger pots and even just growing directly in it.
The book does suggest painting the interior white, which will help to add extra light bouncing around in there.
I'm really excited to get started... and just in time for the weather to be predicted for mid 60's this weekend! Isn't it still February? That's Kansas weather for you.


Janelle said...

Looks really nice, can't wait to see the finished product :)

ChristyACB said...

That looks fabulous and thanks for the link to the book and the blog. It is rather large for my yard but I'm pea green with envy!

Keep us updated on how it works, will you?

Melissa ~ Wife to 1, Mom to 5 said...

Janelle - It turned out really sturdy too. Jerry wasn't too sure about the strapping system, but he went ahead and used it. I'm glad too. It'll be necessary with the wind gusts we get.

Christy ~ Absolutely! I've got lettuces, radishes, spinach and early cabbage seeds started and ready to move out. I repurposed some rectangular planting boxes for salad mix. I'm hoping that once it warms up outside, I can grow them on the front porch. :0

fullfreezer said...

That looks wonderful! I've been thinking about a cold frame. We have essentially no place to put one at our house where it would survive but I was thinking about building one out of town where we have our garden that we share with a friend.

Shiloh Prairie Farm said...

Looks great! I can't wait to see it finished.

Shiloh Prairie Farm said...

I awarded you the "Tree of Happiness" award. Visit my blog for details, but please don't feel obligated in any way, only if you want too!

The Cottage Comtesse said...

Melissa, I just found your blog (thanks for visiting mine!) and I LOVE it! Your gardening stuff is great and I'll be checking out more soon. I am so jazzed to see this cold frame as well as your rebuilt compost bins. I will be checking out this book you've recommended and showing my husband the compost bins. My black plastic bins fell apart in the strong winds this winter. We tried to put them back together but is was useless. We will be doing something like what you have done. The hinged doors is an excellent tip. Thanks for sharing.