I’ve been talking about cold frames a lot over the past months, and invariably get ‘what’s a cold frame‘. This is a cold frame. It’s a piece of Dutch geniusness. And I find it slightly embarrassing that we, living up here in Edmonton, are not friends with it, nevermind masters of its use. Its purpose is to prolong growing seasons – something you think we’d value. It’s a mini-greenhouse, of sorts, that is easily built, portable, and reasonably accessible to all.
The temperatures in a cold frame will get vastly hotter than the ambient outdoor temperature. For actual research and good building ideas, read Elliot Coleman’s books – worth the time anyway if you have the slightest interest in gardening. This, my friends, is my ticket to extending garden harvest into late Nov, early Dec – and even more importantly, to bridging ‘the spring gap’. These awkward coming months where the root cellar veg is dwindling in quantity and quality, but the garden isn’t yet producing.
So now that you’ve met my cold frames, I welcome you to check in through the year to see what I can get away with via their use. Last year, last garden harvest before heavy snow was mid-Nov. I intend on an early Dec harvest this year. And normally the first spring greens are at an edible size May long weekend. I intend on that first harvest to now be the first or second week of April. Can it really be done?!!?
The econ: greenhouse plexi to do about 4-5 cold frames, 2 layers of plexi per ‘light’ thick = $25. Thanks Kijiji. Old storm windows are also a cheap and easy route. Dimensional lumber for 2 coldframes 8′ long = ~$35. Eating garden veg year-round = priceless. Time investment = 1 afternoon.