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Build a Cold Frame

Yankee Plus Dec 2015


Build a Cold Frame
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Cold frames are excellent for starting new plants early in the season and extending the growing season into early winter. Essentially a modified miniature greenhouse, cold frames may be purchased at garden centers and home improvements stores for a few hundred dollars but are also easily constructed and relatively inexpensive to build. Now is a great time to explore this fun gardening option.

Cold FrameIf you decide to build a cold frame of your own, start with an old window sash or door frame.  Any open box style frame will do. If the window or frame does not have glass, install a clear plexi-glass insert to fit the opening.  Hinge the plastic glass to the frame and check to make sure that the opening is easily accessible for planting, watering and harvesting.

 Instructions to Install a Cold Frame

  1. Choose a sunny, South facing area for the cold frame. Dig a hole to fit the frame.  A depth of approximately a foot is needed.
  2. Place the frame at a slight angle to allow rain water run- off and fill the growing area with aerated and clean rich soil.  
  3. Plant seeds by following the directions on the seed packets. Leaf lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, baby greens and micro greens all grow fast and well in a cold frames and are great starter plants for novice cold frame gardeners.
  4. Water and cover the frame.  Do not over water.
  5. Check conditions and progress daily. Once established cold frames need minimal monitoring.
Shelley Wigglesworth


Shelley Wigglesworth


Shelley Fleming-Wigglesworth is a certified Maine Master Gardener and award winning newspaper columnist from Kennebunk, Maine. She has been writing for the York County Coast Star for more than a decade as a freelance columnist and features writer. In 2010 she began writing her own gardening column “The Master Gardener’s Notebook” for Tourist News. She also teaches gardening classes at local schools and colleges
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