Sharpy
Full Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 11:05 pm
Location: Central Ohio

My New Coldframe!

I am no Bob Villa, but I think it's gonna work out good (or so I hope...)

Couple questions:

How well sealed does this need to be? Do I need a gasket around the top and the small cracks filled?

How soon can I start using it for transplants in zone 5?

[img]https://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc60/IamSharpy/Garden/DSCF5501.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc60/IamSharpy/Garden/DSCF5498.jpg[/img]

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27811
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Nice! It might be a good idea to set it up where it's going to go and monitor the Max/Min temp inside for a couple of days. I believe what in under the cold frame will affect the performance/temp. Gardeners used to make "hot beds" by burying fresh manure, if you bury the bottom edge in soil that would seal it more, if you set it on concrete or brick surface, it would sequester heat (is that called heat sink?) Hmm what else... if you set it on a slope facing south, etc. etc.

I put together pvc pipe hoops covered with 6 mil construction-grade plastic sheeting. I'm using it to harden off my cold weather transplants. Due to chicken wire fence around the bed, I can't completely bring the sheeting down to the ground on two sides. But for the last two days, the temp inside have soared to 80's (I do have a little thermometer inside it that I can look at). I've had to bring the transplants still in their pots OUT of the mini-polytunnel. (In fact, yesterday, I brought my older tomato transplants out to enjoy the heat in the mini-polytunnel for a few hours.) But the last two nights, the outside temp have plummetted to 34ºF and 32ºF :roll: I don't know what the temp inside the structure was, but the cold weather transplants came through OK.

Yours is much more solidly constructed and better insulated, so keep that in mind too. I hope other folks with more experience respond. I'll be tuned in. :wink:

bigdoug
Full Member
Posts: 46
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:56 am
Location: Northern Indiana

Looks great, real professional looking, but is that chicken wire on the top or just the way the light is hitting the glass. If it's just chicken wire, it kind of defeats the purpose of having a cold frame. If the top is glass enclosed, you should be able to put transplants out now. As far as sealing the cracks and crevices, you could take a caulk gun to it, but I just put painter's tape around the door crack and peal it up when I need into it and seal it back shut when I'm done.

Sharpy
Full Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 11:05 pm
Location: Central Ohio

Thanks for the feedback!

Yes, the glass is covered with chicken wire...it's so I can sleep at night. I have a 8yr old, a small yard and lots of kids in the neighborhood. I couldn't live with myself if one of them got hurt by somehow breaking the glass. I don't think it will block the light much.

tedln
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2178
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:06 pm
Location: North Texas

That is a very nice cold box. I would like to have one just like it. Unfortunately I can't get my wife to build me one, so I will just keep using my Texas A&M cold boxes.

[img]https://i291.photobucket.com/albums/ll308/tedln/2010%20Garden/IMG_2086.jpg[/img]

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

That looks awesome! Won't ya come build me one?

They do make thermometers that will register the high and low temps for I think, a 24 hour period, and that is really what you need.

You will be getting alot of thermal heat there, and to hold on to it, you need mass, like water cans, painted black etc. This will absorb the heat all day and give it off at night.

For us, it is approaching the time when veggies could get too hot in a cold frame like that. But, you could just slightly prop it open by day, and close it before nightfall! Which would also help with your airflow and keep your plants healthy.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

User avatar
tn_veggie_gardner
Senior Member
Posts: 175
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:49 pm
Location: Hermitage, TN.

Awesome! Yea, build me & Ozark one...lol. I bought a cold frame earlier this year that I will probably put together this weekend to use very soon. I bet you didn't pay 1/4 of what I did for the supplies for yours. That's the best thing about making stuff yourself! =)

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

I found a stash of old windows in a shed... guess what I am thinking?

Well, I also got a pile of lumber at an auction, they are treated, just planks really, all already 4'. Hmm. I wonder? I paid $7.00 for the lumber, and it has already built a house for my son's pet deer, so this would be basically free!

And the windows have been there so long, that I don't even remember where we got them!
Trash into useful items... I can say "recycle"!

But, I need more expertise in building! :oops:

If I do make them into a cold frame, guess who won't be posting photos?
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27811
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Thought: Check the window frame paint for lead.

chriswelch
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:04 pm
Location: Seattle

Nice

Inspiring me to build some of my own. Here is a cool idea: https://onestraw.wordpress.com/2010/01/27/ghetto-fabulous-cold-frame-a-photo-essay/

straw bale coldframe
ISA Certified Arborist - blogging here: https://greenspade.com

garden5
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3062
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:40 pm
Location: ohio

One thing I've heard you can do with a cold frame to give it more heat inside is dig a hole that is about 1 ft. across x 1.ft deep and fill it with hay (possible straw, I can't remember) and cheap dog food in layers. As it all breaks down, it will give off a lot of heat.
There's something new growing in the Helpful Gardener Forum! Become a part of it here!

Sharpy
Full Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 11:05 pm
Location: Central Ohio

Planted the coldframe today...temps have ranged from 32º to 98º, but I will start propping the lid open a bit now during the day.

Planted Tomatos x 3, red cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and 3 kinds of peppers. Hope it all works out but plenty more plants in basement just in case...wish me luck!!

[img]https://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc60/IamSharpy/Garden/ColdframePlanted.jpg[/img]

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

That looks really good.

I like the straw bale cold frame too. Since I am not good with hammer, nails, or sawing straight.

Hey I saw landscape timbers today. The 4" ones with the flat side, they were 8' long, and they were $1.97 that sounds like a great price to me.


If I got some of those and piled them up...mass! Windows on top! No hammering! ha ha
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

User avatar
gixxerific
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5889
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

Ozark Lady wrote:That looks really good.

I like the straw bale cold frame too. Since I am not good with hammer, nails, or sawing straight.

Hey I saw landscape timbers today. The 4" ones with the flat side, they were 8' long, and they were $1.97 that sounds like a great price to me.


If I got some of those and piled them up...mass! Windows on top! No hammering! ha ha
Just remember those landscape timbers are treated. Not sure if you want them in your garden or not.

User avatar
AndrewH_TX
Full Member
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:56 pm
Location: Texas Zone 7b/8a

gixxerific wrote:
Ozark Lady wrote:That looks really good.

I like the straw bale cold frame too. Since I am not good with hammer, nails, or sawing straight.

Hey I saw landscape timbers today. The 4" ones with the flat side, they were 8' long, and they were $1.97 that sounds like a great price to me.


If I got some of those and piled them up...mass! Windows on top! No hammering! ha ha
Just remember those landscape timbers are treated. Not sure if you want them in your garden or not.
The previous "treated lumber" (a.k.a. treated with creosote) were the ones to "look out for". I'm pretty sure after the creosote ban the new "treated lumber" is much safer.

I personally would put a plastic layer between the treated lumber and any dirt (simply to make the lumber last longer), but they've only recently ban the creosote method because it causes health risks, so who knows, they my ban the newest methods in 20+ years for the same reason.

Better safe than sorry though.
Thanks, AndrewH

"If people would focus on the important things in life, there would be a shortage of fishing poles."

User avatar
AndrewH_TX
Full Member
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:56 pm
Location: Texas Zone 7b/8a

Sharpy wrote:Planted the coldframe today...temps have ranged from 32º to 98º, but I will start propping the lid open a bit now during the day.

Planted Tomatos x 3, red cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and 3 kinds of peppers. Hope it all works out but plenty more plants in basement just in case...wish me luck!!

[img]https://i214.photobucket.com/albums/cc60/IamSharpy/Garden/ColdframePlanted.jpg[/img]
Good luck!

Is there anything you can do to help keep the heat in during the night?

Maybe add some hey/straw or mulch?
Thanks, AndrewH

"If people would focus on the important things in life, there would be a shortage of fishing poles."

Sharpy
Full Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 11:05 pm
Location: Central Ohio

AndrewH_TX wrote:Is there anything you can do to help keep the heat in during the night?

Maybe add some hey/straw or mulch?
Do you really think it is needed? I really don't have the room, the thing is sealed up real well I put weather stripping around the window and caulked up all the cracks....

DoubleDogFarm
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 6113
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:43 am

Andrew,

I believe you are talking CCA Chromated copper arsenate not creosote. We can still get creosote railroad ties. I would not use either in a food situation. The new treat lumber, like Sun Wood maybe safer, I'm not taking a chance.

tedln
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2178
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:06 pm
Location: North Texas

Ozark Lady,

The treated landscape timbers sold today are safe to use.

The $1.97 price is a good price. It is Home Depots "on sale" price. Next week, they will probably be $3.97 each.

Don't plan on buying some and letting them sit around. When the retail stores receive them, they are usually still wet from the pressure treatment. They band the bundles with strong steel banding to keep them straight. When they cut the bands, they start warping. If you take them home from the store and don't use them quickly, the will probably warp so much you can't use them.

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

User avatar
AndrewH_TX
Full Member
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:56 pm
Location: Texas Zone 7b/8a

Sharpy wrote:
AndrewH_TX wrote:Is there anything you can do to help keep the heat in during the night?

Maybe add some hey/straw or mulch?
Do you really think it is needed? I really don't have the room, the thing is sealed up real well I put weather stripping around the window and caulked up all the cracks....
Needed? Well not necessarily, but the more "heat" you can keep built up the better it'll be for the plants. I believe it's more important to keep the roots warm, but you have to keep the tops from freezing since the water will expand and burst the cell walls (which I'm sure the coldframe is achieving).

I'm sure you'll be just fine, but a little extra I'm sure wouldn't hurt ;)

It is hard to give advice for a weather zone I'm not familiar with. Not sure if y'll are receiving cool enough temps still to justify the hay/straw/mulch. I normally add hay or mulch to help keep in moister anyway though, which it'll double as a heat barrier (to keep the heat in).

DoubleDogFarm wrote:Andrew,

I believe you are talking CCA Chromated copper arsenate not creosote. We can still get creosote railroad ties. I would not use either in a food situation. The new treat lumber, like Sun Wood maybe safer, I'm not taking a chance.
Oops, that's right CCA. I believe the EPA is trying to ban creosote RR cross ties and telephone poles. So their days are numbered. I know there are several cities that no longer allow creosote telephone/light poles.
Thanks, AndrewH

"If people would focus on the important things in life, there would be a shortage of fishing poles."

User avatar
Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

All of my beds have treated tiles around them. If a problem, too late, I am not going to change them over. They don't smell like the old creosote posts did, and yes, I am quite old enough to remember them. And to remember what creosote splinters did when you got those! Ouch!

I do have one tile that is rotting out, the others have been there probably 8 years? The previous boards only survived for 2-3, and seemed to need constant replacement and splicing.

I always assumed that all lumber would warp if it was left out in the weather and not firmly nailed into place. But, thanks for the reminder.

I figured, if the treated lumber is an issue, oh well, if I don't use it, and don't have a garden, I will get alot more chemicals on store bought food, so I just went for it, way back when the beds were built.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

DoubleDogFarm
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 6113
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:43 am

sharpy,

How about a binky, (blanket). On the colder nights cover it with a quilted blanket. Moving blanket.

Sharpy
Full Member
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 11:05 pm
Location: Central Ohio

DoubleDogFarm wrote:sharpy,

How about a binky, (blanket). On the colder nights cover it with a quilted blanket. Moving blanket.
That's a great idea, I can fit that no problem, Thanks DoubleDogFarm!!

DoubleDogFarm
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 6113
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:43 am

Your welcome, but no thumb sucking :lol:

tedln
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2178
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:06 pm
Location: North Texas

Ozark Lady wrote:I always assumed that all lumber would warp if it was left out in the weather and not firmly nailed into place. But, thanks for the reminder.
Your right OzarkLady! :shock: But it doesn't usually twist into a pretzel shape in a couple of days. It's not really that bad, but it is pretty bad. I've had to throw a few away simply because they were twisted so bad after a couple of days. I went back to Home Depot and asked the manager why their timbers twist so bad now when they didn't used to do it. He said people should just expect them to twist if they don't use them quickly. He also said customers are welcome to bring them back and they will replace them with straight timbers, but you need to be ready to use them when you get them.

I suspect they have that $1.97 sale when enough customers have returned timbers and they want to get rid of them. I always have to pick through the pile to find some I can use.

Ted :D
I simply enjoy gardening!

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”