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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.

Construction[edit]

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.

Uses[edit]

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]

References[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.
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995 news items

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Minneapolis Star Tribune
Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:07:30 -0800

In her Shoreview yard, under a blanket of snow, is a polycarbonate-topped, 2- by 8-foot box — or “cold frame.” Brush aside the show, lift the lid, and inside was an improbable vision: healthy spinach, kale, salad greens and other veggies growing in ...
 
NewsOK.com
Fri, 19 Dec 2014 22:00:00 -0800

Many gardeners dream of having a cold frame or greenhouse to start their own plants for spring, to overwinter their special plants and decorative containers full of plants or to raise their own winter vegetables. If you choose to do a major investment ...

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Minneapolis Star Tribune
Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:07:30 -0800

In her Shoreview yard, under a blanket of snow, is a polycarbonate-topped, 2- by 8-foot box — or “cold frame.” Brush aside the show, lift the lid, and inside was an improbable vision: healthy spinach, kale, salad greens and other veggies growing in ...
 
Washington Post
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 04:02:48 -0800

If protected by a cold frame or unheated greenhouse, its tasty greens are even more abundant in wintertime. In our garden trials, we've found the variety Argentata to be the most cold-hardy. At the same time, warm-climate gardeners find that chard will ...

The Independent (blog)

The Independent (blog)
Sat, 29 Nov 2014 14:08:51 -0800

So I have bought a new cold frame (really a plastic tent or cloche, but I am using it as a cold frame) to start off peas, sweet peas and, in February once there's a bit more daylight, some spring lettuces. My old strawberry bed was in need of an ...

Forest Lake Lowdown

Forest Lake Lowdown
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 01:00:00 -0800

It's 25 degrees in Shoreview, but inside my covered garden it's a delightful 83 and I just harvested arugula, baby kale, spinach and tatsoi for a savory salad. When I tell people about my new covered gardens, reactions range from excited ('Wow! I didn ...

Big Picture Agriculture

Big Picture Agriculture
Fri, 14 Nov 2014 09:40:07 -0800

Building a cold frame was last weekend's project at our house and we did it in the nick of time, just before the cold blast of arctic air and many inches of snow hit us this week. Although we built a winter greens hoop garden a few years ago and it is ...

theday.com

theday.com
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 01:06:59 -0800

Then there are the vegetables that are grown in a cold frame and kept in cold storage, including lots of root vegetables, potatoes, onions, scallions, garlic, turnips, rutabagas and fruits that store well, like apples. A variety of mushrooms are ...
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