Inexpensive cold frame.


Colin

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Hi,


Just a simple project to get me into the garden; I found the ideal place to build a very basic cold frame; our gardens are so steep building anything is a problem but the three paving flags laid in front of our old hut looked ideal. Nothing at all special other than it cost me nothing as I had plenty of offcuts of timber to hand. The offcuts only needed ripping to width and cross cutting to length which is easy given my workshop kit. The front is a length of scaffolding board the sides are made up of assorted timbers all being screwed together.


The top frame is double layer ripped timber butt jointed and screwed; the rear top cross member is attached to the sides with crude angle iron; the top frame is then hinged to this with a pair of brass butts. Heavy gauge polythene sheeting was stapled then secured using clout nails. Nothing fancy at all and the timber is a mix of treated and untreated but even the untreated could last ten years; I made a fence panel over 16 year using untreated pallet timber and it's only just rotted and been replaced.


The size is roughly 50" long and 24" wide; the front is 9" deep the back is 14" deep the actual back being the lower hut front. I intended to replace this hut next year because the hut was second hand when I bought it 30 years ago so it owes me nothing; I'm now using this hut as a potting shed so I think I've come down with a dose of gardening bug?


I've enjoyed making this cold frame; the sun has been shining which is rare and I've made use of lots of offcuts of timber; just a prop to make in order to keep the top panel open as needed but it's ready for use and hasn't taken much time nor effort to make; I made it up as I went along using the timber available and no great accuracy was needed; a nice project and hopefully more to follow.

Bron and I visited a local garden centre this afternoon; a basic cold frame there with thin timber frame and much smaller than mine costs £60.


Kind regards, Colin.
 
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alp

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Colin, you can click full image so that your photos can be seen straight away!
 

Colin

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Hi,

Thanks alp. I selected thumbnail size not wanting to hog forum space? I've just gone full size so the images can be seen straight away.

The dark timber at the bottom of the side is part of a 4" x 4" treated fence post I salvaged when I installed a new decking; I ripped it then cross cut to length; it's amazing what can be made with offcuts and a bit of imagination.


Kind regards, Colin.
 

alp

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Oh, crumbs! I hog the pages all the times.. Hope someone forgives me. I don't have very good eyesight and clicking those images is a bit of hassle to me. Others might beg to differ. I might try to make a cold frame sometime in the future. I have got some polycarbonate boards free.
 

Colin

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Hi,

I'm now posting the full size images Alp. It's only taken me 30 years to get serious about our gardens so I'd like to encourage you to get cracking with making a cold frame; you're already part there in having the polycarbonate sheets; a bit of timber to cut and a couple of hinges to add then you've cracked it all before winter hits us? Good luck.:)

Kind regards, Colin.
 
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Well done @CanadianLori :) It looks great
Is there a lamp inside? Or what I see in the middle is part of the irrigation system?
 

alp

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@Fagiolino You can do something like that! Just get some polycarbonate panel.

Lori: Well done! Still looking good and serviceable. Nothing wrong with that.
 

Colin

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Hi,

Thank you for posting @Colin
Have you started using your cold frame? Any update?
Kind regards
Many thanks for asking Fagiolino. (y)

A few weeks ago I took Pachysandra ground cover cuttings and initially placed these in jam jars filled with water as shown on YouTube but roots were reluctant to grow so I dipped each in turn into rooting compound and potted them into individual pots so now they are in the cold frame and still look OK so my fingers are crossed I'll be able to plant these in the garden next springtime. Also shown in the picture below is a plug tray I sowed Ajuga seeds in but still no sign of any growth so I'll discard these and take Ajuga cuttings instead but not until next year; the weather is dire here and as I type it's now snowing.

I've been too busy digging our rear garden over to spend time with the cold frame; being a novice gardener I think I've tried to do too much all at once this year.

Your cold frame might be a cheapie CanadianLori but it certainly looks up to the job and is tidy. :)

Kind regards, Colin.

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@Fagiolino that thing sticking up is actually a dollar store solar light. I just stuck it in there for the summer.

I do have an irrigation system in all of my gardens. I also bought a fertilizer injector so that I can feed everything when I water.
 

alp

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Some of these solar lights are fantastic. We bought our from Poundshop and they were going after 7 years!

If you could get polystyrene foam panel to line the sides, I think you can considerably lengthen your growing season, Lori!
 
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@alp we don't have a Gulf Stream to help us in the winter. Although you are at a higher latitude, we are still much colder. Our soil will freeze down to about the 2' mark and more. That's why our cellars must be insulated down to a full meter - frost will go that deep. There is one lady down by the east coast who promotes cold frame farming in the winter however she only grows cold loving plants and has her cold frames actually sunk down into the ground. Whole nother deal.

I won't use polystyrene because I have this silly problem with opaque or translucent things. I really like the clear look. I even ordered all new clear panels for one greenhouse because it came with dual wall panels. I know the duals are much better but I just don't like the look of them.

Luckily these on ground cold frames at least allow me to put out plants in late April instead of May and that, to me, is a big bonus. :)
 
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Thank You for replying and fingers crossed for your Pachysandra and for your Ajuga, @Colin Please, keep us update. Would you like to form a small Pachysandra hedge?
 

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Hi,

Thanks Fagiolino for your good wishes which I appreciate. (y)

I'm very much a novice gardener and a couple of months ago Bron and I visited our local Wyevale Garden Centre where I had hoped to buy some Vinca Minor (Periwinkle) ground cover plants for planting under our assorted trees and bushes; however the garden centre didn't have the Vinca so we asked a staff member for advice and he kindly suggested as alternatives Pachysandra and Ajuga; only Ajuga was on sale but at a special offer price so we bought the Ajuga; this is now planted just to the right of our new hut on the steep slope it being used as ground cover or at least it will once it gets established.

At another local garden centre we found Pachysandra so bought four of these potted; it's from these I've taken the cuttings seen in the cold frame so no they aren't being used to form a small hedge they are to be planted as ground cover; we still haven't bought any Vinca but I think this will now wait until next springtime due to it being winter and today it's been snowing.

Thanks for taking the trouble to post the excellent pictures; it will be lovely to see a spread of these under our trees where the ground is usually bare; I've done a great deal of work in the garden so far this year and I'm now looking forward to next springtime when with luck the 200 Narcissi I've planted around the garden will appear for the first time. I'm keen to do a lot more work in the garden but as I say it's snowing so I'm now spending time in my workshop; as long as I keep busy I'm happy. :)

Kind regards, Colin.
 

alp

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Our soil will freeze down to about the 2' mark and more.
Whoa! Perma frost! I see what you mean.. This forum really opens up my idea of how the others live!

Saw this video about this Albertan growing melon. Amazing ..
 
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Getting ready to design and build a cold frame this month. My in-laws gave me a couple of old sliding glass doors. It's good to see other people's designs. Thanks!
 

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