Episode 51 – Cold Frame Build

KevinFall Veg, From Local Farms, From the Garden, Greens, Lactuca Micro Farm, Spring Veg, Summer, Veg, Vegetables, Winter Veg7 Comments

I built my first cold frame back in March of 2011. It has undoubtedly changed the way I grow food. I’m now up to 8 frames under lids, with another 6 soon to be built for the 2013 season – the majority for market. This vid is simply a look at how we’re building them now, after much homework in old-school books about how the Dutch and French used to rock this technology, and much debate between Travis and I about the best way to tackle it.

A simple description of the current design: 2×10 back and sides, 2×6 front for the frame on the ground. The lid is a 2×4 back board hinged to the ground frame. 2x2s are then added to the sides and front of the lid, and a space-age corrugated greenhouse plexi is affixed to the top. That’s it. It uses geothermal and solar heat to assist on temperature, and the biggy is the lid itself protects against hail, pounding rain, heavy winds, and frost. And leaf debris, and house sparrows, and neighbourhood cats, and romping children. And snow. I’ve grown greens as early as April and as late as November before without much effort. Now that we’re supplying restaurants, food trucks, caterers, the local culinary school, and the public, it’s time for some effort to extend the season in an energy-passive way and with some volume. I’m not interested in heaters – not just because they’re energy pigs, but because they falsify seasonality, and alter the culture around it. I am however interested in advocating for a re-think about what’s in season, helping sharpen the #yeg pencil around terroir, if you will. There you have it.

7 Comments on “Episode 51 – Cold Frame Build”

  1. Adam Stevens

    Awesome video. Thoughts…. What var of greens do you have in there? I have the same pink bike hanging in my shed. How late will you sow seed in the frame this year? source for plastic?

  2. Sherri

    Love it – nice build! Cold frames make all the difference here too, as long as I remember to vent the lid in the morning… I actually have to set an alert on my phone so that I remember to open them in the morning and close them at night – pathetic, but hey I’ve got a lot on the go and I am forgetful and distracted 90% of the time, LOL.

  3. Judy Z

    I would have the same problem as Sherry. I think if I was building cold frames I would be tempted to source those automatic openers that they sell for green houses. (Some of them work based on wax that melts at a certain temperature within a cylinder)

    I’d be interested in knowing where you sourced the plastic too.

  4. Chad

    I was totally expecting the music to thump back in as soon as the lid to the cold frame opened back up to show the unscathed greens.

  5. Terry Luck

    Hi there,
    Saw your talk at the Calgary Garden Show – found your website and tried to watch the video on Cold Frame Build -got the following error message and video would not work. Please assist if possible. Thanks for the inspirations!!

    Webpage error details

    User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.0; Trident/4.0; GTB7.4; SLCC1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; Media Center PC 5.0; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; .NET CLR 3.0.30618)
    Timestamp: Sat, 20 Apr 2013 15:48:27 UTC

    Message: Object doesn’t support this property or method
    Line: 19
    Char: 3
    Code: 0
    URI: http://www.kevinkossowan.com/wp-content/themes/KevinKossowanV2/_/js/functions.js

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