Cold Frames are hot.


The Cold frames my brother made me were cheap and easy and that’s pretty cool.

So I’m trying to start more of my plants this year from seed. It’s not going too bad but one of my problems is that my sunny window is only sunny for about 5 hours. And putting the seedlings in my sunny window takes up 4 square feet of counter space right next to my sink. This means I am moving my plants from a table in my front room where they spend most of their time under a homemade grow-light frame and back every day. Do I need to do this? Probs not, but I can’t help but feel that the sun is better than artificial light. That’s a “no brainer”.  The artificial light works and If I had no other option I would use it and be glad. But I am looking for better, more natural, less expensive and easier. If it reduces my need for electricity then I’ll call that the bonus. I live in a regular suburban home so I decided to use what I have, where I have it. I have a back yard deck so I figured that I would make a cold frame and learn to use it for germinating seeds and growing strong little plants.

My wife wants to make a greenhouse and she wants to use old windows from farm houses being demolished and has been able to collect a few of them already. She let me use two that my brother gave to us from a farmhouse in the area. They are the same size and have hinges still attached. I brought them to my brother to get some help building the body of the cold frame.

Old Farmhouse Windows

Old Farmhouse Windows

I was planning on spending a few dollars on a 2×12 board long enough to make the walls of the enclosure and a few more dollars buying a piece of plywood for the floor. When I arrived at my brothers one acre farm and showed my brother the windows he said he had an idea and walked to a lumber stack near the back of the property. He returned with an old section of cabinet that was hanging in the garage when he moved to the farm.

Garage Cabinet

Garage Cabinet

It was just the right size. The cabinet  length and width were almost exactly the same as one of the windows.After we removed the center shelf and the facing he cut a piece of old siding to cover the opening.

Facing and Shelf Removed

Facing and Shelf Removed

With this cut siding firmly in place what we had was now a closed box.

Closed box left

Closed Box Left

Closed Box Right

Closed Box Right

Question: What magical tool turns a closed box into 2 smaller open boxes? YES, a saw. So after deciding what angle we wanted for the sides we drew the saw guide marks and he went to cutting. 4 straight-line cuts later and we had two halves of a box.

Layout

Layout

Sawing

Sawing

Open box with backs taller than fronts

Open box with backs taller than fronts

They looked great. The next thing to do would be to attach the windows that would serve as sun gathering covers for these boxes. Screwing on the lids was easy since the hinges were already halfway attached. We simply placed the windows on the boxes, lined them up flush with the hinge side wall and ran the screws in with a power screwdriver.

Window aligned and hinges screwed in place

Window aligned and hinges screwed in place

I chose not to paint the boxes for a few reasons not the least of which is that I just didn’t feel like it. They will serve their purpose as is and should I decide to drill some smaller vent holes in them or should we scrap the frames to reclaim the windows for the bigger greenhouse project I won’t feel like I spent any money or time needlessly.

Matching Cold Frames

Matching Cold Frames

So there we have it, a pair of matching cold frames that cost almost nothing, use no electricity, reduce the risk of me dumping seedlings on the kitchen floor, and will help me bring strong plants to the garden.

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