FruitAddict
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Location: Oshkosh Wisconsin

Does anyone use a cold frame?

As I still have about a month left before our last average freeze here I've been thinking about making a cold frame.

My thought was that I could start a bunch of plants in there and then move to their final garden location after danger of frost is past. Or should I be planting at their correct location and spacing within the box and then just move the box when weather will cooperate?

Suggestions or good websites for info on this?

Most of what I found this week in several hours of searching was mostly on how to construct them and not how to actually use then once built.
I couldn't survive without the pleasure my garden brings to me.

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Gary350
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Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Back in the days when I was young and had plenty of energy I had a cold frame where I started my own tomato and pepper seeds in reused plant trays. That is the only thing I transplant.

Weather use to be real unpredictable back then too so I built some cold frames 8" wide 12 ft long. I could plant beans, squash, etc seeds directly in the garden soil then cover them with glass. I had several of these long skinny cold frames to get a few rows of beans and squash started early.

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jal_ut
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I have never built a cold frame. I would think it would be more useful for starting plants. It seems it would take a real big one to space plants at their end spacing and get very many covered.

I have a method that may interest you. It uses a center support of 1 inch PVC pipe 24 inches long with either an el or T fitting on it (these are the vertical parts) and then ten foot sections of pipe for as long as you want to make it. I drive 1/2 inch rebar pieces in the ground at the location of each 24 inch vertical pipe. The PVC 24 inch pieces go over the rebar and that is what holds it up. I wish I had a picture. Hope you can follow this. Now I take a roll of 10 foot wide 6 mil plastic and roll it out as long as I have made the supports. Plants can be planted under the suspended pipe, then covered with the plastic. The edges are weighted down with whatever you have handy. I use firewood chunks.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

greenstubbs
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Location: N. Nevada

I have a setup kinda like jal's, except that I made a A frame for the ends. I use it it to get my seeds started early and collape it when I'm done with it.

Artemesia
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Location: zone 5

seed starting and cold frame use

I start my seeds in small/medium/large pots inside the house in front of a south facing window. I do this because most seeds require soil temperature around 70 F for optimal sprouting. As soon as they sprout I immediately move them into the cold frames that run along side the south side of the house. They have an electric heat strip to prevent freezing or getting too cold. It is much cheaper and easier to manage than a greenhouse. I plant my squash in large pots because I want to keep them protected from hail longer. Small/medium pots for the tougher stough that I can plant earlier.

lily51
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Location: Ohio, Zone 5

I use mine to over-winter some plants, to move perennials y
To from the greenhouse and now am moving many of my petunias to them, too. This makes more room in the greenhouse for less-hardy plants.
They work great for my purposes, so it depends on what works for each gardener.
You can find many wonderful set-ups online to give you more ideas. :)

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jal_ut
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Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

OK, I found the pics.

[img]https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/cold_frame1.jpg[/img]

[img]https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/cold_frame2.jpg[/img]

[img]https://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/cold_frame3.jpg[/img]
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

FruitAddict
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Location: Oshkosh Wisconsin

Wow great pics!! Thanks.
I couldn't survive without the pleasure my garden brings to me.

FruitAddict
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 3:03 am
Location: Oshkosh Wisconsin

I got thinking about this some more and it spawns more questions.

If you grow something under glass or plastic until the weather is warm enough not to worry about freezing don't you still have to "harden" them off? If yes do you then need a different covering for them to create shade until they have adjusted - what would you recommend for that?

Also curious what would be the temp range you want under the glass/plastic? How hot is to hot?
I couldn't survive without the pleasure my garden brings to me.

Timlin
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Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:59 pm
Location: Zone 3 Canada

No additional hardening off needed because you have to be uncovering those plants during warm days when the sun would cook them if you left them covered. They get enough cold at night without freezing and when it's time to uncover completely you have no worries. Do uncover in the daytime to let the wind give them a work out during the process......it makes stronger plants.

I've always loved this part of my garden year.

Timlin
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Location: Zone 3 Canada

I'm always amazed at the open areas some of us have to garden in. Shade is a big problem here in my yard because of the huge trees all around us.

We are in the process of making use of your suggestions with the pvc piping to support bird netting over our raised beds. Our problem is crows and rabbits so the netting should solve both problems and your plan looks like exactly what the Dr ordered Jal...........I'll post pics later.

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