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"Crystal Casket" Cold Frame

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"Crystal Casket" Cold Frame

Post  GrowRunner on 5/23/2016, 2:01 pm

I was browsing for some "how to" videos for a cold frame this spring, wanting to make one myself to help with protecting and hardening off young seedlings and reduce my power bill from having seedlings under my grow lights so much.  It would have been rather simple if not for the expensive sheets of plexi-glass.  

Then I stumbled into this:



Simple enough. Versatile. And the most expensive part was the clear polycarb roof panel at $20.  So I went about making one myself.  The trickiest part was getting the roof panel to slide into the grooves that had been cut for it. I also assembled two additional 2x4 frames at the same width and length dimensions to insert underneath the main assembly in order to give it more elevation as needed, knowing that I'd be housing some tomatoes and other similar plants that I didn't want to be smashed down by the roof when the plants got a little taller. 



I also have a few scrap pieces of wood that I can insert underneath the main assembly at different angles to give it different degrees of ventilation. Laying the scrap wood sideways gives a little bit of ventilation.  Propping it up vertically really opens up the dome.



As I've mentioned in another thread, I'm way behind on my seed starting this year.  We just potted up our tomato starts last week for the 1st time since starting them in little newspaper pots 5-6 weeks ago and will let them go for another week or two before we finally get them out into the garden.  For now, they are loving it under the dome.



I also pre-sprouted a bunch of various melons, cucumbers, squash, okra, etc this last week using the "baggie method" with ziploc bags and coffee filters and then got them all potted up as they germinated.  Some seeds had germinated in just 1-2 days!  In less than a week from starting the germination process and getting most all of them in pots, many are now popping up for some sun.



Needless to say, I'm really enjoying the versatility of this cold frame alternative.  I found that some large sized 20 inch by 12 inch aluminum steam pans I purchased at my local Sams Club a few years ago as a cheaper alternative for holding seedling pots, were perfect for fitting just inside the crystal casket.  I can really maximize the space and get 7 whole trays in there.  

I think this thing will survive many seasons and beyond.  I could even paint or stain the wood if I wanted to really make it look fancy.  I may also install some little handles along the sides just to make it a bit easier for lifting the edges up.  Oh, and I find myself often referring to it as a "cold casket" or "cold coffin" at times instead of "crystal casket".  The irony is that it actually helps sustain life rather than death.  Now I just can't wait to get everything out to their new permanent homes in the garden beds where they can really take off.


Last edited by GrowRunner on 5/23/2016, 2:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: "Crystal Casket" Cold Frame

Post  GrowRunner on 5/23/2016, 2:08 pm

Also, I forgot to note that I actually haven't turned on my indoor grow lights at all this season.  When seeds have germinated and sprouted, they have been immediately placed right outside in the casket.  In fact, I actually started my tomatoes, peppers, and egg plants among some lettuce, celery, cabbage, broccoli, and other plants from seed right inside the casket.  They were all slower to germinate than I would have liked, and I think that had to do with the temperature swings of cooler nights, so from now on, I'll continue to sprout all seeds indoors where they can have a more consistent temperature to germinate in before placing them outdoors.
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Re: "Crystal Casket" Cold Frame

Post  countrynaturals on 5/23/2016, 2:15 pm

Very impressive! Cool
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Re: "Crystal Casket" Cold Frame

Post  yolos on 5/23/2016, 3:21 pm

I like that tutorial.  And everything can be purchased locally.
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Re: "Crystal Casket" Cold Frame

Post  trolleydriver on 5/23/2016, 5:29 pm

That is excellent. I really like it. Thanks GR.

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Re: "Crystal Casket" Cold Frame

Post  trolleydriver on 5/23/2016, 5:34 pm

That is excellent. I really like it. Thanks GR.

=======

I liked it so much I ended up with a double post saying the same things (until I added this comment).

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Re: "Crystal Casket" Cold Frame

Post  sanderson on 5/23/2016, 6:47 pm

Very creative! Thank you for sharing.

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Re: "Crystal Casket" Cold Frame

Post  Scorpio Rising on 5/24/2016, 12:23 am

LOVE IT, I can build a box, but the sloping sides of most conventional cold frames are beyond my skills and equipment. Great alternative! Thanks, GR!
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Re: "Crystal Casket" Cold Frame

Post  AtlantaMarie on 5/24/2016, 11:36 am

NICE! You're right - it should last many years!
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