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Cold frame

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Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 9/26/2012, 8:15 pm

I am going to see how long I can harvest lettuce and arugula and such..have starts and today the box was made and tomorrow the lights will be made. This could get interesting lol...


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Re: Cold frame

Post  bnoles on 9/26/2012, 9:10 pm

Hi Cindi! Your idea DOES look interesting and I do hope you will keep us posted on the progress.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 9/26/2012, 9:37 pm

I will..that is why I put it in a seperate topic..so I won't lose it lol..

I know where I can get some straw bales. I think I will get some to put around it..just to be on the safe side. I think, if I remember! I am going by what Eliot Coleman said but I can mess anything up lol...So I think a little extra insulation such as that will not be a waste of time.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  quiltbea on 9/27/2012, 12:00 pm

That coldframe is looking fine. Have you got some cool greens, like Claytonia, Mizuna, Arugula. Corn Salad/Mache and Tokyo Bekana? They can take quite a bit of cold.
The bales around the frame sound like a good idea. Insulation will help extend the harvests.
Good luck!

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Re: Cold frame

Post  Hoggar on 9/27/2012, 12:32 pm

Cindi,
I am trying the winter garden thing this year as well I bought
the book "The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener," and am following the advice given in it.
I have my new green house and the book suggests building a smaller hoop house over the boxes inside it. It says that will virtually move your plants 2 zones south. I scored some framed
windows and am going to make a cold frame in the green house
with them. there is also a section on Cold frames on there own.
She "The writer'" lives in Canada so Year-Round Gardening would
be tough, I would think.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  bnoles on 9/27/2012, 2:22 pm

Hi Hoggar and thanks for the link to Amazon and the book. I just made the purchase to my Kindle PC and look forward to reading it and maybe giving it a try.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 9/27/2012, 4:46 pm

Hi Hoggar, I am going with Eliot Coleman's "Four Season Harvest". Yea I wanted to have my greenhouse up before and put a bed in there. But life gets in the way sometimes. Hubby says it will be up before Halloween...maybe..I told him that was ok..I could have fun with it later to...

I am going to put a hoop frame over the bed..MAYBE..hopefully I can. But according to what I have been researching, I could still grow arugula, mizuna, and some others all winter in just the frame! Gonna be fun to try!

Hubby got one light on. It is twin-wall polycarbonate. Since I didnt know that the bed wasn't 4x6 but is 51"x72", I only bought one 4x8 panel lol..so got to get another one next week. He put weather stripping around the top.



Oh short pieces are 2x2 handles and the ones that look like braces-They are there so the top doesn't get pushed off the box if I fall against it. My balance isn't the best, lol..and when I take the top off it will sit on the ground like little table. Humm, I could put a bottom on it and have a portable coldframe! Yikes better not tell hubby that lol..

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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 9/28/2012, 12:36 am

@quiltbea wrote:That coldframe is looking fine. Have you got some cool greens, like Claytonia, Mizuna, Arugula. Corn Salad/Mache and Tokyo Bekana? They can take quite a bit of cold.
The bales around the frame sound like a good idea. Insulation will help extend the harvests.
Good luck!

Sorry, QB, I didn't mean to miss your post! Yup, arugula, mizuna, carrots of course, chard, Amish deer tongue lettuce, and a couple of squares of radish.
I hope to have a nice salad for Thanksgiving lol...

I didn't get the claytonia and mache like I thought I did (or put the packets were they "wouldn't get lost"). So for this year I am not going to have them..

Rofl..first hubby says NO MORE ..then he commented he wanted to make sure any other boxes we do are MORE uniform incase we do this again Wink ..

I love that man lol...


QB, do you know a particular kind of annual rye grass you recommend? They are very confusing! Trying to think to next years "resting" beds.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 9/28/2012, 12:39 am

@CindiLou wrote: Humm, I could put a bottom on it and have a portable coldframe! Yikes better not tell hubby that lol..

Told hubby that Shocked He wasn't very polite. Laughing

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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 9/28/2012, 12:40 am

Oh and parsley for a square will be transplanted out of my herb bed! Coleman says it will live..we will see!

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Re: Cold frame

Post  quiltbea on 9/28/2012, 11:09 am

CindiLou......I haven't used a green manure/cover crop since my bad experience but I understand what is sold as simply Ryegrass can be sown anytime and according to Johnnyseeds.com its easy to incorporate into gardens after winterkill. Sorry, I've never used it.

I used Winter Rye, which has aggressive fall growth and regrows in spring with multiple roots and for me anyway, was hard to remove.

Maybe someone else on this forum has had good luck with a cover crop and can add their experiences. I hope so because I'd like to know what is beneficial to improve my soil but also easy to turn under come spring. Anyone listening?

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Re: Cold frame

Post  Turan on 9/28/2012, 12:42 pm

I used to plant annual rye between the rows in my tilled garden. I would mow it a couple times during the summer and then till it in the fall. It added green manure that would compost all winter. How this would work in an SFG I am unsure. Is the idea to have a thick growth all winter and next summer to keep weeds out and then pull it out and put in the compost? Or cut and lay on hte soil like a mulch that you will plant things like tomatoes and cabbage through? Annual rye has so much root mass (which means it can outcompete quack grass, GWN) that I fear pulling it from an SFG bed would remove all the MM as well.

Here is a link of cover crops sown in the fall ~ http://www.territorialseed.com/category/70 I think Johnny has similar or better selection. Fava and crimson clover would also fix nitrogen and should pull out/ chopp up fairly well. Fava beans are reliably annual, I am not so sure about any of the others.

If you want to wait till spring you have more options. Then I would recommend buckwheat or field peas. Maybe both together? They reliably die come winter.

Hope that was helpful. Let us know how you envision this process. I have an idea of having enough beds to rotate one to fallow each season. So cover cropping would be one way of managing it during its down time.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 9/30/2012, 5:42 pm

I think I will wait till spring, Turan. Maybe I shouldn't have so many new things going at once lol..will confuse my brain!

I have arugula, radish, mizuna coming up in the winter bed.

Thank you for the reminder, QB! I ordered mache, claytonia, a "winter" swiss chard, and spinach. I had forgotten that there is a chard that is more winter hardy. I will replant some of the squares as they empty. So far as I understand the claytonia, spinach, and arugula will go all winter. I am so having fun trying it even if I don't have a lot of luck.


So far so good! I hope I didn't plant too late for some like the radishes..but if I did just a few seeds wasted.


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Re: Cold frame

Post  Hoggar on 10/4/2012, 11:20 am

I will only be doing an 8' x 3' box this year in my greenhouse.
I have not got any thing planted yet and finely had the money
to get the wood for my box which I plan to build this weekend.
Ill be planting, Arugula, Mizuna, Mache and Spinach. I hadn't
thought about Carrots I think Ill add that to my list and I am
going to try to keep some tomatoes going as well.

I saw a post where some guy up in Canada keeps his greenhouse
above freezing by hanging outdoor Christmas lights in his
greenhouse I have a tone of the bigger ones and intend to give it
a try.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 10/4/2012, 12:48 pm

Got my order from johnny seeds, claytonia, arugula (sylvetta), a hardy spinach, and mache. They included a free packet of minutina! Cool! Another winter crop possibility silly me I think I should have started with TWO cold frames darn funny Oh well. I am going to replant some squares that are not germination. So will have fun deciding which to do! Claytonia seems to be the most winter hardy.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 10/4/2012, 12:51 pm

@Hoggar wrote:
I saw a post where some guy up in Canada keeps his greenhouse
above freezing by hanging outdoor Christmas lights in his
greenhouse I have a tone of the bigger ones and intend to give it
a try.
I haven't decided yet if this is going to be strictly unheated or not.
Maybe I will string some of them in my cold frame. I will definitely talk to hubby about whether or not it is a workable idea.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  quiltbea on 10/4/2012, 6:50 pm

I really can't see how a string of Christmas lights can keep a greehouse warm. Not enough wattage or heat IMHO.
Has anyone here done this and got sufficient heat thru the winter?

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Re: Cold frame

Post  walshevak on 10/4/2012, 7:22 pm

Yep, If the nights don't get terribly cold. My son put 2 strings of the large bulbs in a 5x5 plastic greenhouse last fall and overwintered a habenero pepper (it even bloomed and formed teeny peppers), a tropical Philippine jasmine plant, some begonias and some geraniums. We did have an unusually warm winter and I don't think the temps got any lower than the mid 20's and not that many nights. Collards, Kale and Chard survived with just a single plastic hoop covering.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  quiltbea on 10/4/2012, 7:54 pm

Yes, I can see that the larger bulbs could help. Some folks have mentioned using the tiny LED bulbs which doesn't sound logical to me.
Glad the larger bulbs worked for you and the weather didn't get too darn cold.
I don't think it would work here in Maine but again, I could be mistaken.
Good luck to all takers.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  CharlesB on 10/5/2012, 1:24 pm

As far as the Christmas lights it depends what you want to do.

I put a dome with plastic over it on one of my SFG's last winter. It is fine for cabbage, carrot's, chard, brassica's, etc. to go dormant and survive through the winter without one watt of energy. I am near Philadelphia and it will get down to about 5 F here.

So one could start a bunch of brassica's late in a green house. Let them all go dormant. Not use any heat. Then when the green house starts to get warmed up in the spring their brassica's would be off to the races.

If you want to grow and have active production that is a different story. That will require a very large input of energy.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  walshevak on 10/6/2012, 12:47 am

@CharlesB wrote:As far as the Christmas lights it depends what you want to do.

I put a dome with plastic over it on one of my SFG's last winter. It is fine for cabbage, carrot's, chard, brassica's, etc. to go dormant and survive through the winter without one watt of energy. I am near Philadelphia and it will get down to about 5 F here.

So one could start a bunch of brassica's late in a green house. Let them all go dormant. Not use any heat. Then when the green house starts to get warmed up in the spring their brassica's would be off to the races.

Agreed. The lights in the greenhouse were just to keep some plants alive as there is no room in the house to overwinter. For that purpose the lights combined with the mild winter worked. We just lucked out on having growth all winter for the hoop

If you want to grow and have active production that is a different story. That will require a very large input of energy.

Agreed. The only purpose for the lights in the greenhouse were to keep some plants alive as we have no space in the house for overwintering. The lights combined with a mild winter accomplished this. We were just lucky that the hardy veggies in the SFG hoophouses had enough warmth and day length to actually grow all winter. Gonna try again this year, but plan to buy a small room heater for the greenhouse. The hope is to overwinter some of the exotic hot pepper plants that grew this summer. Only plan to keep it just above freezing, not growing warm. Helps to be in zone 8.
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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 10/6/2012, 2:54 am

Tonight is the first freeze night! Supposed to get down to 29° tonight and tomorrow. Plastic on all the beds. Hope I can keep the tomatoes and peppers alive! The ground is still warm so should be able to.

2am and down to 34° so glad I put the plastic on.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 10/8/2012, 4:37 am

My tomatoes and peppers didn't make it through two nights of freezing temps. But I have green in my coldframe! It is supposed to be warmer tomorrow so I will have Ben help me take the top off and water and look to see what all is growing.


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Re: Cold frame

Post  darci.strutt on 10/8/2012, 10:13 am

I'm enjoying watching your progress @CindiLou - I ordered the "Four-Season Harvest" myself and hope it comes today. I like the look of your frame! I have 'greens' under a dome with 6mil plastic that have lived through a couple frosty nights so far. That might be enough testing this first year, but maybe I can get a box built to replace it. For sure, my hope is to build a cold frame during the winter to try extending the season on the spring-side next year!

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Re: Cold frame

Post  Hoggar on 10/8/2012, 11:17 am

Here is the link to the You tube video. He has an 8 X 12 greenhouse on Salt Spring Island, BC right in that notch on the north west corner of Washington state.

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