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Making and Using a Cold Frame

Get a jump on the growing season by using a cold frame. Build your own and be kind to the environment and your budget by using reclaimed wood and old window sashes or storm doors.

Most cold frames are 3 x 6 feet or sized to fit the recycled window sashes or other material used for the cover. Make the cold frame tall enough to accommodate the growing plants. The back wall is usually 18 to 30 inches high.  The front wall is usually shorter, about 12 to 24 inches, for greater light penetration.

Cut the side walls on a slant to accommodate the change of height from the back to the front wall.  Use 2 x 2’s for the corners and to stake your cold frame in place.

If possible, face the front of the cold frame toward the south for maximum light and solar heat and the back against a building for added insulation.

A bit more information:  Vent cold frames on hot days and cover with carpet or other material for added insulation on extremely cold nights.  Or use floating row covers to extend the season if building a cold frame doesn’t fit your gardening goals or construction skills.

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