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Cold frame

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Re: Cold frame

Post  plantoid on 12/8/2012, 8:30 pm

Audry ,
The best idea I know of is to have two bulbs wired in parallel set on a piece of timber to get the heat source as low to the soil a you can due to heat rising to heat a small space.

Say 30 or 40 watts each that way if one bulb fails there is still the other lit and when you check them the next night you'll easily see one has failed and can take remedial actions.


I have parallel light set up's as anti frost precautions in my caravan , the office and the small purpose built utility room which houses the freezer , washing machine and dryer out in the garage .
I use two compact fluroescent bulbs of 7 watts on each set the combined 14 watts has seen minus 8Cc ( 18.5 F ) and nothing froze up even though temps did drop to 35 F inside the enclosures .

Depending on what you want to grow depends on what temp you'll need

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First snow

Post  CindiLou on 12/21/2012, 5:19 pm

Well my frame got a sheet of ice then a little snow. Wind was so bad it blew the snow away. It was still 45° inside at 4pm when it was 27° outside.
Still greenery inside. Some endive to pick, carrots and parsley still green and no signs of cold stress. I think the arugula is about done. Some leaves can be picked but the cold effected some.

Not much snow this time.


This is the layer of icy snow. Probly keeping it warmer.


Still some green.


So...notes for next year.
Plant sooner.
Plant more intensive.

As hubby said, this was an experiment year. He could tell I was a little disappointed in it.
But I really am happy with it. I have gotten salads in December and have a little more I will get.
I still believe it is going to be worthwhile.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  camprn on 12/21/2012, 5:32 pm

A great place for starting stuff early. Very nice!

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Re: Cold frame

Post  cyclonegardener on 12/21/2012, 10:20 pm

Nice Job Cindi Lou. Almost afraid to look at mine after yesterday's storm and last night's cold weather. I have row covers on, piled snow around my cold frame and added plastic. It's supposed to get to 6 above. I have some Lettuce that I want to eat on Christmas. The coldest it's gotten in mine is 21 degrees and they survived.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  cyclonegardener on 12/22/2012, 6:07 pm

It made it! After a 6 degree night, my cold frame stayed above 25 degrees and gave me a good cutting of lettuce and I even spotted a radish!

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Re: Cold frame

Post  quiltbea on 12/22/2012, 7:29 pm

Congrats cyclone. You did it. That's a good reason to extend the fall garden into winter with extra plastic, etc. I'm giving it a try next year her in zone 5a..

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Re: Cold frame

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 12/22/2012, 7:40 pm

We had temps down in the low 20s this week which is about a cold as we get. I had 1 1/2" of ice in my fountain and in some puddles on the ground.

I only have plastic and lights for heat with a little heater and a heavier tarp over the top for extra warmth when it's really getting down there. We managed to keep our tomatoes alive still. I have at least 4-5 dozen tomatoes yet to ripen on 4 plants. At they rate they're going I'll have tomatoes all winter which is such a treat. Some have fallen off and I've gathered them green, and have them stored in my veggie bin in the fridge. I have a sunny south facing window and find about a week in the window is enough to ripen them nicely.

My husband thinks winter gardening is too much work, but I love the fresh veggies without driving 100 miles round trip ;-)

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Re: Cold frame

Post  jmsieglaff on 12/23/2012, 8:56 am

I bet these plants will take off come late February/early March and provide a nice very early bounty. I've yet to do any overwintering/winter harvesting aside from accidental protection provided by snow. But after watching this thread and getting a couple books from the library, next fall I'll be done some low tunnels with fabric and greenhouse plastic as an experiment. Keep the posts coming, I enjoy them and I'm curious how your plants do when 0F comes!

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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 12/23/2012, 12:19 pm

Go for it! At least is keeps the winter gardening blues away!

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December 31st 2012

Post  CindiLou on 12/31/2012, 5:44 pm

Have had normal winter weather, freezing, ice, snow, rain, cold.
Right now it is 27° outside.

At 37° in the cold frame there are still survivers. Carrots-green, radishs-green but ready for the compost, endive-few leaves still there for picking. Parsly looks good and still pick a leaf now and then, it was small when I put them in. Claytonia/minutina-yup planted too late so growing VERRRRY slow. Arugula is ready for the compost.

Have a cold starting so not cleaning up right now. But seeing all the green still going I have faith that NEXT year I will have a great winter harvest!

I will start plantings of argula and endive probably in Feb. Have to check the book again to make sure of dates. AND WRITE IT ON THE CALENDER LOL...





Last edited by CindiLou on 12/31/2012, 5:46 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : pictures added)

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Nice work

Post  cyclonegardener on 12/31/2012, 8:56 pm

on our cold frame.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  deriter on 1/3/2013, 7:30 pm

Thank you CindiLou for your report and sharing your journey with the cold frame. This is kinda the type of thing I have been wanting to do but maybe just a little larger. I want to try and grow tomatoes to have through the winter but I know that will take some heat and have been struggling to get that part figured out. If one were to keep it small, then heating would not be as big of a problem. I even think of a small building with a small wood stove idled down for the night to keep it warm during the night. If you had lots of that plastic or that stuff you used on yours, on the sides and maybe part of the roof to catch the sun for day time heat,,,,,,lots of just thoughts. Hopefully at least next fall I can get something started.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  camprn on 1/3/2013, 7:52 pm

I have another thought... Aside from the need for heat, another part of the problem in growing tomatoes and peppers through the winter in the north country is the lack of enough hours of sunlight. You will need to have grow lights on for hours each day.

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 1/3/2013, 9:18 pm

Yup, I believe with tomatoes and peppers your looking at a greenhouse set up. With lights, heat and all the headaches that go with it lol...

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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 1/3/2013, 9:20 pm

@camprn wrote: A great place for starting stuff early. Very nice!

Oh yea lol..already getting the setup planned for February plantings of lettuce, arugula etc! Can't wait! And now I only have a month with no gardening...
Hopefully next year I will grow all winter in it.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  deriter on 1/3/2013, 9:56 pm

Well the light I supposed you could use florescent lights for the day light which I wouldn't think this would bump the light bill all that much. But the heat source would be the biggie. That's why I thought maybe a small wood stove idled down pretty low wouldn't use a lot of wood and maybe not be used much through the day. I don't know, maybe that's not a good idea either. Just thinking out loud here. Maybe if you kept it smaller like what CindiLou made it might not take very much to keep it warm enough to grow stuff. I may have to forget the tomatoes and think smaller,,,,,,,,,

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Re: Cold frame

Post  deriter on 1/4/2013, 9:21 pm

Got another thought,,,,,,,,,,,,,what if you had some barrels painted black and filled with some sort of liquid say maybe water and some antifreeze so it wouldn't freeze solid. Have the sun shinning through onto the barrels during the day and the veggies on top of them. The heat could rise during the night and help keep them warm????????

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Re: Cold frame

Post  camprn on 1/4/2013, 9:27 pm

Yup, that would work. I use plastic water filled jugs painted black inside my small hoops to extend my season. It doesn't work so well on a small scale during a freezing cold northern winter. There are numerous articles at Mother Earth News about greenhouses and Thermal mass with the water jugs, or stone or any number of things including compost piles to retain or generate heat.

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books

Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: Cold frame

Post  cyclonegardener on 1/4/2013, 9:44 pm

Here's an idea that came to me while unwrapping a box that contained a printer. It was packaged using the spray foam that you use for insulation on your house. The printer had been in the truck for a while in 25 degree weather and the box was in our office for two to three hours before we opened it. The printer was still very cold, which made me think why not use that spray foam to insulate cold frames?

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Re: Cold frame

Post  quiltbea on 1/4/2013, 10:28 pm

Some folks use insulation foam cut to fit inside their coldframes and it works well. Its another way to insulate from the cold weather.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 1/4/2013, 11:45 pm

@quiltbea wrote:Some folks use insulation foam cut to fit inside their coldframes and it works well. Its another way to insulate from the cold weather.

I wanted to use that QB..but hubby was real curious what how it would do without it. Next year I am going to use 1" insulation board and IF straw doesn't cost a fortune, like this year, I think I will put it around the bed also.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  quiltbea on 1/5/2013, 11:20 am

CindiLou, I've also known folks to use bales of straw around their chicken and duck houses to help insulate in the winter, therefore it should work for a cold frame.
And in the spring when its not needed anymore, you can use a bale of it for mulch. It works better than hay mulch which can have tons of weed seeds in it.
Keep us posted. I love hearing about experiments, good and bad, for the future.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  cyclonegardener on 1/5/2013, 5:25 pm

I've used bales of straw for the cold frame and that worked great. It's probably the best way to insulate. But moving it when it was wet and the weed seeds that went with it caused me to switch.

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Re: Cold frame

Post  CindiLou on 3/6/2013, 7:49 pm

Went out to check the cold frame. Nicely buried lol..

It was 45° inside at 4:30pm when it was 26° outside! I think it is time to start some lettuce, etc.



Still some green inside. Parsley has made it. The carrots I planted too late actually have carrot shaped roots! I wonder if they will grow now. There is a few odds and ends inside that are nice and green! I think I will pick a little salad tomorrow! I didn't think there would be anything in there so wasn't prepared!




So in my opinion, this has been a successful experiment! I will adjust planting times and spacing this year and hope for a good salad garden next winter!



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Re: Cold frame

Post  quiltbea on 3/6/2013, 8:05 pm

CindiLou.....Lookin' good. I plan to have my cold frames up and running with fall and winter crops this year. You give me hope for a fresh salad for Thanksgiving.

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Re: Cold frame

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