digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















A traditional homemade cold frame

In agriculture and gardening, a cold frame is a transparent-roofed enclosure, built low to the ground, used to protect plants from adverse weather, primarily excessive cold or wet. The transparent top admits sunlight and prevents heat escape via convection that would otherwise occur, particularly at night. Essentially, a cold frame functions as a miniature greenhouse to extend the growing season.[1]

Historically, cold frames were built to be used in addition to a heated greenhouse. The name itself exemplifies the distinction between the warm greenhouse and the unheated cold frame. They were frequently built as part of the greenhouse's foundation brickwork along the southern wall (in northern latitudes). This allowed seeds to be germinated in the greenhouse and then easily moved to the attached cold frame to be "hardened-off"[2] before final planting outside.[3] Cold frames are similar to some enclosed hotbeds,[4] also called hotboxes. The difference is in the amount of heat generated inside. This is parallel to the way that some greenhouses are called "hothouses" to emphasize their higher temperature, achieved either by the solar effects alone or by auxiliary heating via a heater or HVAC system of some kind.

Cold frames are found in home gardens and in vegetable farming. They create microclimates that provide several degrees of air and soil temperature insulation, and shelter from wind. In cold-winter regions, these characteristics allow plants to be started earlier in the spring, and to survive longer into the fall and winter. They are most often used for growing seedlings that are later transplanted into open ground, and can also be a permanent home to cold-hardy vegetables grown for autumn and winter harvest.


Cold frame construction is a common home or farm building project, although kits and commercial systems are available. A traditional plan makes use of old glass windows: a wooden frame is built, about one to two feet tall, and the window placed on top. The roof is often sloped towards the winter sun to capture more light, and to improve runoff of water, and hinged for easy access. Clear plastic, rigid or sheeting, can be used in place of glass. An electric heating cable, available for this purpose, can be placed in the soil to provide additional heat.


Cold frames can be used to extend the growing season for many food and ornamental crops, primarily by providing increased warmth in early spring. This means that it's possible to harvest vegetable crops ahead of their normal season when they are extremely expensive to buy. Some crops suitable for growing in a cold frame include lettuces, parsley, salad onions, spinach, radishes and turnips etc. One vegetable crop can occupy the whole of a cold frame or a combination of crops can be grown so that they mature in rotation in order to get a wide range of different vegetables throughout the year from a single cold frame.

Bulb frame[edit]

A "bulb frame" is a specialized kind of cold frame, designed for growing hardy or almost hardy ornamental bulbous plants, particularly in climates with wet winters. Typically it is raised further above ground level than a normal cold frame, so that the plants can be seen better when in flower. They are often used for the cultivation of winter-growing bulbs which flower in the autumn or spring. The covers are used in winter to provide some protection from very bad weather, while allowing good ventilation. Then in the summer, the covers provide dry, warm conditions which many such bulbs need.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Cold Frame as Season Extension from Grass to Greens". www.grass2greens.com. Retrieved 19 November 2014. 
  2. ^ coldframe.org.uk
  3. ^ "A brief history of cold frames". coldframe.org.uk. 
  4. ^ merriam-webster.com
  5. ^ Mathew, Brian (1997). Growing Bulbs : The Complete Practical Guide. London: Batsford. ISBN 978-0-7134-4920-4.  Pp. 32–34

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_frame — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

959 news items

Conway Daily Sun
Fri, 24 Jul 2015 14:45:00 -0700

OSSIPEE — Local organizations Global Awareness Local Action and Jack Mountain Bushcraft School say the next feature in their 2015 monthly NH Re-skill-ience Workshop Series is "Extending the Growing Season with Cold Frames," taking place ...

The Union Leader

The Union Leader
Fri, 31 Jul 2015 06:22:29 -0700

GALA says a cold frame is essentially a bottomless box with a covering of glass or clear plastic sheeting. These coverings are called “lights” because they collect the warmth from sunshine to heat the plants contained inside the frame. Cold frames ...

The Daily News Journal

The Daily News Journal
Sat, 01 Aug 2015 09:52:30 -0700

Of course, a cold frame is a more permanent solution to extending the growing season. I had great success with a heavy plastic that I clothes pinned to the fence on two sides, allowing it to fall to the ground on the other two. You do want to harvest ...

Tulsa World

Tulsa World
Fri, 31 Jul 2015 22:03:45 -0700

... approaches to a fall vegetable garden, all of which result in produce that some people would argue is even tastier than spring-grown. In addition, some of the semi-hardy vegetables may be harvested into the winter months, especially if a cold frame ...

Belleville News-Democrat

Belleville News-Democrat
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 20:51:48 -0700

Some gardeners use a cold frame with a plastic cover enclosed in a wooden or aluminum frame or a hot bed with heating cables below the surface to minimize all the work of covering and uncovering to protect these plants. Green manure is plants that are ...
Esquire.com (blog)
Fri, 31 Jul 2015 05:11:15 -0700

... where in midwinter Parma violets bloomed in a cold frame near the kitchen door and down the long corridor, past the seven views of Rome—up two steps and down three—one entered the library, where all the books were in order, the lamps were bright, ...

Jewish Exponent

Jewish Exponent
Thu, 30 Jul 2015 16:44:32 -0700

The grant request from Ramah Day Camp included plans for a stronger deer fence, new edging with distinct paths between beds, an efficient irrigation system with access from within the garden, a storage shed and a cold frame hoop house to extend the ...
Columbia Star
Thu, 30 Jul 2015 08:54:09 -0700

Buckeye seeds are toxic to humans but easy to propagate if done soon after dropping from the tree by covering with an inch of soil in a cold frame or deep pot. Seedlings have long taproots. Cross Vine Bignonia capreolata, the crossvine, is a climbing ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight