We are officially in Spring! As the temperatures rise and the snow melts away, you can start to work the soil in your garden. After a couple of weeks of temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s, we have started to rake our garden beds, preparing them for our cool-season crops.
One way in which you can get a head start on this year’s planting is by having a cold-frame. A cold frame allows you increase your garden season, increasing your overall produce production for you and your family.
Cold frames are relatively easy to build yourself. The most important part of your cold frame is that whatever you use for your cold frame cover, it needs to allow sunlight to come through. Using an old window would work. Some people use what is called Lexan, which is a tough, durable plastic.
The next part of your cold frame is the frame itself. Hay or straw bales are perfect for this! If you have some extra bales lying around or have a neighbor that wants to dispose of some, these work perfectly! (Plus, you can always use the bales for mulch later in the season if you want!) Other items you can use for the frame are bricks, cinder blocks, or wood. Make sure the frame is well-insulated.
Remember, you want to create a warm, protected environment for your plants. Make sure you put your cold frame in a location that gets a lot of sun. Once you have your frame set up, gently place your piece of glass on top. Make sure the glass is easy to slide off or prop up.
What can you plant in your cold frame? Pick out what vegetables you like that do well in the cold. Vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, kale, carrots or spinach are great for you to try in your cold frame. Who doesn’t want a fresh salad from their own backyard in February or March?
Once you plant in your cold frame, you will need to water and check on the air ventilation. Your crops can overcook if the temperature gets too warm in there. To prevent this from happening, simply prop up your glass covering during the day.
Cold frames are a great way to extend your growing season with relatively little work! Why not give it a try?