A Last Minute Cold Frame

I'm not a particularly handy person, which is probably why I was standing outside in my garden mid-October wondering what to do about a cold frame for my little raised bed of greens.

Or perhaps it had to do with my nature to over-plan things that made building a cold frame more complicated than it needed to be. I had visions of a lovely glass topped box with sliding windows, but building that reality was definitely outside of my skill set, especially at this late a date.

A quick trip to our local building center gave us all we needed to build a last minute cold frame for less than $13: some metal brackets, a few screws and narrow water piping. Also used in this venture were a few clothes pins and leftover floating row cover material.

Recipe: Screw brackets into the sides of your raised wooden bed. Cut two 10-foot lengths of tubing in half with an exacto knife to create four arches of support. Place tubing into brackets, sinking them into the dirt. Cover with your row cover material and use clothespins or whatever else you have on hand to secure the fabric to your tubing. We may or may not have also used a few metal binder clips from our office. Et, voila! The last minute cold frame:

Not exactly what you would call high fashion for the garden, but it has it's own charm. We covered it with the row cover fabric that we had on hand because I just couldn't bring myself to purchase plastic that would degrade after one season and end up in the landfill. I know that the fabric row covering will not raise the inside temperature of our little box of greens much, but then again, I'm not so sure it matters. We planted cold hardy greens, after all. I'm mostly looking to keep the wind and snow off of them at this point. They'll have to soldier through the cold on their own.

As for how this little cold frame will work out for spring greens, we'll just have to wait and see to find out!

 

Shanon Hilton is a mother, wife, aspiring farmer, and passionate food advocate. She writes about her thoughts on food, farming and health at www.foodfarmhealth.ca.

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