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Cold frame

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Re: Cold frame

Post  Hoggar on 10/15/2012, 10:26 am

Cindi the harborfreight lifts only open about 8" to 10" inches so may not work for your cold frame mine open and close around 50° its sort of a gradual open and close as they warm up and cool down. I would like to make them not open until closer to 70° but the adjustment on them only makes them open sooner. and I may try to automate them in the future with a thermostat and motors.

The way they work is they have bees wax in the tube and it expands and contracts and that is what opens the vent. Yesterday mine were open at 8am and it was already a toasty 90° inside the outside temp was in the low 50's.

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Update

Post  CindiLou on 10/17/2012, 10:07 pm

Babies still growing!

Radishes hoping for Thanksgiving!



Lots of little stuff.

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Hook and eyes

Post  CindiLou on 10/20/2012, 6:46 pm

I got the hook and eyes on to make sure the lights don't blow open. I also added chain so the wind won't take it when it is vented. I haven't gotten the automatic vent yet. Hope to get it Monday.

Lock down


Chain is long enough when I need to I can open the light almost entirely open for harvesting and planting some. Of course when I need to I can take the whole thing off come spring! I am really starting to like this!


Parsley I transplanted seems to be happy!


Little plants still going! Getting big enough I can start to tell by looking what they are!




Hubby was like "you want me to weed that grass?" NOOOOO! it's green onions. rofl

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Love that chain!

Post  cyclonegardener on 10/20/2012, 11:20 pm

I never thought of using a chain. I have a pretty heavy thermo pane, but sometimes the wind still takes them. Great idea!
My lettuce crop has been bulging at the seams in the cold frame. It likes this weather and the rain we've been getting.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 10/20/2012, 11:56 pm

Mine is really light...twin-wall polycarb but the frame is only 1x1s...I have a weak arm so needed light lights lol

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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 11/17/2012, 9:07 pm

So far the vent is doing just what I needed..I have to go and open the coldframe up more on a few days. But not every day.

I have some mizuna ready to pick tomorrow for a salad..carrots are growing (might have planted them too late), endive doing good. I will have a few radishes for Thanksgiving! I have arugula ready to start using! I will love having fresh for my sandwichs after Turkey Day! Also have some Amish Deer Tongue lettuce doing good. I have mache, mizuna, minutina, and a cold hardy arugula ready to plant when get the time/have the space! I also got a more winter hardy smooth leaf spinach to plant.

So far I am loving the coldframe harvesting. Will see when I am harvesting in the cold and snow!
Have only needed to water once. I am going to again tomorrow hopefully when I get some more planted.
I did figure out one thing. The sfg spacing is not so good for some of the winter harvest. You dont do cut and come again harvesting much. The plants grow very slowly! So I am making notes of what needs to be planted more intensely.
I really wish I had planted a month earlier on most, longer ago than that on others.
One of my MG fellow county members are going to keep a comparison of our winter harvest. I found out she has been doing it for a few years in a greenhouse! She doesn't have the Eliot Coleman books so we are going to do some book swapping this summer for further studying!
Also..I need to get the wire frames made for my row covers. I am going to need them sometime. No extended freezing temps so far. Just a night here and there. My cold frame has about 20 inches of clearance on the back down to approx. 12 on the front. So I have room for a second row cover. It has been a mild fall/early winter so far.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  quiltbea on 11/17/2012, 11:56 pm

You sure are getting some good crops from your fall harvest. Sounds like a good plan so far. I'm sure you'll learn more things that will help next year even more.
I wish you good luck in extending right into Dec this year.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 11/18/2012, 3:38 pm

Gardening in winter! Funny ..






mizuna...I will plant thicker so i can harvest smaller next year and so I get more of it!..


Radishs (weird to get radishes for Thanksgiving!)..........I will plant more next year and will replant squares with claytonia for the later winter..




Today I will have a large salad for supper! I have Amish Deer Tongue lettuce, a loose leaf lettuce, mizuna, a little endive and arugula. And spiced with a few sprigs of parsley! Oh now I am hungry for supper rofl



Today I planted mache, minutina, claytonia, and arugula. I planted thicker so I can harvest smaller!


I am remembering to keep my planting journal notes! On one side is the layout for the first planting..then I wrote where I was going to plant this time on a piece of paper and put it on the other side so I could just flip the page..worked great!..with the accompanying scatch outs and revisions! I keep them in a page protector and just take it outside with me..I tend to lose notebooks thinking



And it was 72° in the greenhouse at 1 pm when I went out..so will leave it open till about 5pm..


Last edited by CindiLou on 11/18/2012, 3:42 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : To give temps)

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Re: Cold frame

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 11/18/2012, 4:05 pm

CiindiLou, you are truly an inspiration. Thought I was doing okay until I saw your garden! Will definitely expand my idea of what's possible after seeing your cold frames. Nonna

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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 11/18/2012, 4:32 pm

Hi, Nonna...
I am just starting..and already see things I will change...like doing more intensive planting for this kind of harvesting..since they don't GROW much in the winter...
The weather has be pretty good till now..maybe a week or so with highs in the 30s to lower 40s...most highs are in the 50s to 60s..another strange year!
I have been studying Eliot Coleman's books "four-season harvest" and "the Winter harvest handbook". Still want to get his "the new organic grower"..and have Barb Damrosch (his wife) book "the garden primer".
He is doing this commercially in zone 5 in Maine..so I figure I should be able to do something in zone 5 in Iowa rofl

He says you can harvest many things most of the winter (except for jan, feb) and some things all winter arugula, chard, chickory, claytonia, dandelion, endive, kale, mizuna, gr onions, parsley, sorrel, spinach..and many other thing for most of the winter...

All this is possible in and unheated frame..with a second row cover of course lol..

It is really fascinating what can be grown in a garden we have given up on for the winter!

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Re: Cold frame

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 11/18/2012, 11:26 pm

Yep, I'm learning, too. Here one of the problems is protecting our plants from excess moisture. Row covers are a big help. I've not tried doubling up on the row cover, but you've inspired me to try it on one of the spinach/lettuce beds. Until we installed the elk/deer-proof fence, come winter we just ignored the garden area knowing four-foots would be the only beneficiaries of anything growing out there. Now we have a fighting chance! Nonna

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Re: Cold frame

Post  quiltbea on 11/19/2012, 3:36 pm

CindiLou.....I like Coleman's method because it doesn't need heat or extra lighting and still you can extend your harvests into winter and get a jump-start in the spring. There are so many crops that can make it thru cold days and nites with a little extra coverings.

I have Barbara's 'Garden Primer' and find its my 'go-to' book in caring for my crops. Very helpful.

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Radishs

Post  CindiLou on 11/25/2012, 3:40 pm

Radishes! The end of November! Planted Sept. 23rd. Oh this is nice...there are more coming on but as they are supposed to grow slowly now maybe I will have some for XMAS!


Coldframe going strong! Still picking lettuce and such each week.

I have mizuna to pick for lunch tomorrow.



Have some arugula ready for my ham sandwiches tomorrow also.



As I thought, I need to plant more intensely for this type of harvesting. I have minutina, mache, and claytonia coming up also but to small for you to see in the pics. They will be harvestable all winter. I planted them thicker amongst the squares that are growing now but will be done soon.

So have some planning to do this winter so I have the seeds I want for my winter harvesting next year. Had to order online for most of them this year because of a late start.
Coldframe was 58° at 2pm on a cloudy day. It is a cold 47° outside! I had my winter coat on.




Last edited by CindiLou on 11/25/2012, 3:44 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : add temps----grammer so you could read it!)

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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 12/7/2012, 5:52 am

Still picking lettuce. Might be the end of lettuce soon though, there were a couple of leaves that look like the cold has effected them. Getting colder now for longer spells. Although it was 55° in the cold frame when it was 35° outside!

Just a couple of radishes were ready on Tuesday.
A little lettuce, deer tongue lettuce, endive, mizuna, and some arugula. Just the right amount to pile on our ham sandwiches at lunch time! rock on

Minutina are showing growth. Too little to see in these pictures but about the size of a penny. A couple of mache and claytonia just showing up. Not big at all yet. They were planted on the 18th of Nov.

I will definitely sow thicker next year. Seems sfg spacing is not going to work for this. The grid sure helps though! And of course the plants love the MM! But they were right when they said "harvest" not grow. Much of it is growing very slowly. Only picking about every two weeks! So definitely not enough to make it worthwhile if this was how it was all the time. It will be much better next year when I have an idea of what I am doing. rofl

Pictures before I harvested. It looks a little bare afterwards.




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Re: Cold frame

Post  Hoggar on 12/7/2012, 11:17 am

Great stuff CindiLou,

I've had a busy couple of months but have been reading along when I get the chance.
I never got the main box filled in my Green house, no money to buy fixings for MM, so no leafy greens. My Tomatoes that were transplanted have survived the shock and are now growing new shoots and even putting out some blossoms. I have cut away all of the branches and leaves that had wilted after the transplant and we still have tomatoes ripening on the vine. My peppers have also survived the transplant shock and are thriving they also have new buds and we have three almost fully ripened Bell peppers.

I have a heater in the green house for when it gets cold I am trying to keep it around 50° and above. Jen hasn't yelled at me about the power bill yet so I guess its not too bad. Shocked I plan on getting the solar stuff in this summer and I have been looking into building in a small Rocket Mass Heater, I may have to take out my sink to make room for it but if I build it right I can use the shelf / seating area as a planter.

On a side note, I cleared out and mixed up all of my boxes except for the broccoli squares and the other day I harvested enough for a broccoli & beef stir fry dinner. The funny part is we have had several freezing nights and 15 inches of snow and I haven't done any thing to protect it.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 12/7/2012, 11:55 am

Hi Hoggar, I have looked at those heaters. But my greenhouse that I am putting up next spring (never made it up this year) is only 6x8 so I don't want to give up that much of a percentage of space. I do have a carport thing that when the cover shoots craps I am going to cover with clear panels. That one will be 10x15. But that will be a few years.
So it makes sense, between now and then, to start collecting the supplies and knowledge.
Right now I am trying to do as much as possible with the no heat method.

hyper And having fun at the same time! One learning curve at a time!

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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 12/7/2012, 12:09 pm

@Hoggar wrote:
On a side note, I cleared out and mixed up all of my boxes except for the broccoli squares and the other day I harvested enough for a broccoli & beef stir fry dinner. The funny part is we have had several freezing nights and 15 inches of snow and I haven't done any thing to protect it.

This year I did brussel sprouts for my large cool weather crop. Not the best choice. It take all summer for it to grow here. Then out of 6 plants I had enough for a batch for me (they didn't do too well). Since I am the only one that eat them, I am going to do brocc next year. I am trying to grow more kinds that the majority of the family will eat.
I think my tomatoes that were in my buckets got to hot last summer. They did lousy! The once in the beds did better. But the watering was an issue. After I got the irrigation grid in I was much better at watering regularly. Another lesson learned!
I have two 4x4s, 2 4x2s, 6x2, and 4x6 to make the grids for this winter. Hubby says he is going to design a system to make it easier. Right now I move the hose from bed to bed. Easy to do..just have to set timer to remind myself lol..
Humm, maybe I should look into one that shuts it of automatically so if I am not home I don't have to call someone to do it lol..my memory is like swiss cheese!

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Re: Cold frame

Post  Hoggar on 12/7/2012, 2:56 pm

@CindiLou wrote:my memory is like swiss cheese!
I have the same issue I like to say I have the memory of a gold fish, once around the bowl and its all new! Laughing

For you watering system have you read my thread about my PVC Watering Grid.?

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Re: Cold frame

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 12/7/2012, 3:47 pm

I have a question about how many lights or how much wattage you think it might take for each of these boxes. We have a hard frost coming next week and we're trying to get them set up right now. I'm in the Central CA mountains outside of Fresno, probably zone 9A or B

We tried a 100W trouble light in this large one in November, but the bulb was old and blew out in the middle of the night so we lost some of our plants.


Then there are these 3 that we were thinking of using your suggestion of outdoor Christmas lights. Does anyone have any idea how many bulbs should be needed for each 4 x 4? Hopefully we can find the old style somewhere. Will LED work? Do they put off any heat? Any help greatly appreciated.


Thanks!
Audrey


Last edited by audrey.jeanne.roberts on 12/7/2012, 3:47 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : forgot to put my zone)

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Re: Cold frame

Post  quiltbea on 12/7/2012, 5:55 pm

Hey, Audrey. I see you're a newbie here. Welcome to the forum. I love your tabletop beds. Lovely.
I can't help you with the lights. I personally don't think Xmas lights give off enough heat to do a thing. I know others have tried lights so maybe they'll chime in with personal results.
I watched a u-tube just the other day of a woman who tried it in her small greenhouse and they didn't work for her. No heat generated. They were the 7-watt size.
I hope you find something that works for you.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 12/7/2012, 6:12 pm

Quiltbea;
Thanks for the input, that's why I'm asking. I learned early in life that it's less painful to learn from other's mistakes than my own!

We might just buy more trouble lights and put one in each. Since we won't get much below 25 at a minimum temp and usually just hovering around freezing when it gets cold, we just need to take the edge off.

Audrey

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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 12/7/2012, 6:34 pm

Hi Audrey and welcome to the forum.

I haven't tried lights in my coldframe. I am doing mine without heat.

I know from the research I have done that you would need the old fashioned large bulb ones. Two or three strands to keep them above freezing.

I do have a small pvc greenhouse, 5x5, that I use in late winter/early spring for my seedling transplants. In that one I bought a small heater with an thermostat. I set it for 50° and left it. this would work in yours. Might want to either have one at each end, you MIGHT be able to get by with one in the middle since you aren't expecting bad freeze.


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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 12/7/2012, 6:48 pm

@Hoggar wrote:

For you watering system have you read my thread about my PVC Watering Grid.?

Yup, yours is what I based my grid on last year. rofl It works awesome! Ben is going to put valves in my gardens to connect them all to one hose..will be great to not go out there ever 45 min to switch beds. I tried Cincinnati's gravity fed idea but for my 4x6s it would have to be up higher than I can reach to fill the bucket. Although I may Try that again on my 4x2s. I still have the setup.





Last edited by CindiLou on 12/7/2012, 6:54 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added links)

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Re: Cold frame

Post  yolos on 12/7/2012, 6:59 pm

Audrey - see my reply to the lights question in your topic "Hi I'm New to the Forums"

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Re: Cold frame

Post  Hoggar on 12/7/2012, 7:16 pm

Hi Audrey, Welcome to SFG!

I just re-watched the video for the Christmas lights and it looks like he has two 25 ft strands in there. He also says his Green house is 10' X 12' so my guess would be one 25' coil for each box.

""But that is just a guess I have not tried it with the lights because I decided I wanted to keep my Green house warmer than I thought I could achieve with the lights.""

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Re: Cold frame

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