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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.

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"[1] before final planting outside.[2] Cold frames are similar to some enclosed hotbeds,[3] 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.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ coldframe.org.uk
  2. ^ "A brief history of cold frames". coldframe.org.uk. 
  3. ^ merriam-webster.com
  4. ^ 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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291 news items

Appleton Post Crescent

Appleton Post Crescent
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 20:56:15 -0700

It is not necessary to spend a lot of money or time creating a cold frame. Create one quickly and easily by making a box shape or border from straw bales or concrete cinder blocks. Cover with an old storm window or patio door that you can pick up from ...

The Coloradoan

The Coloradoan
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 13:37:30 -0700

A cold frame is a low-tech alternative to a greenhouse, with a lower profile (in case your HOA is watching) and smaller footprint. While not without some effort, making and using a cold frame can harness the benefits of solar energy to keep mature (or ...
 
CT Post
Thu, 11 Sep 2014 10:15:00 -0700

With 30 square feet of growing space inside the cold frame, a variety of salad ingredients can be planted. Several short rows of radish seeds are planted alongside a row of onion sets leftover from the spring planting. Arugula is interplanted with ...
 
The Daily News Online
Tue, 16 Sep 2014 02:00:00 -0700

Would you like to extend your garden season by a month or more on either end? Consider building a cold frame. They create microclimates that provide several degrees of air and soil temperature insulation as well as shelter from harsh winds. This allows ...

Marshfield News-Herald

Marshfield News-Herald
Tue, 30 Sep 2014 02:00:00 -0700

A cold frame can substitute for the box or you can place the leaf-lined cold frame in the garden. A covering of hay, straw or leaves will allow easy access when it is buried under the snow. A 15- to 18-inch deep hole can also be dug in the garden and ...
 
CT Post
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 09:48:11 -0700

Perhaps one of the best ways to go on gardening despite cool weather is to plant a cold frame garden. A cold frame is a simple contraption made of wood (or other structurally strong materials) with a hinged glass or plastic top that creates a ...
 
Brownfield News (subscription)
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 08:00:00 -0700

One great way to begin gardening in the fall and winter months is to use a cold frame. A cold frame is somewhat like a mini greenhouse. A wooden frame is built and something like an old window is used as the top. Old windows with the glass intact are ...

Wisconsin Rapids Tribune

Wisconsin Rapids Tribune
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 08:56:15 -0700

A cold frame can substitute for the box or you can place the leaf-lined cold frame in the garden. A covering of hay, straw or leaves will allow easy access when it is buried under the snow. A 15- to 18-inch deep hole can also be dug in the garden and ...
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