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Score!!! and a little more.

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Score!!! and a little more.

Post  SQFTBIX on 8/2/2011, 10:41 am

Being a devoted and long time SQFT devotee, I have always wanted to extend my gardening season. I have dabbled a couple of times with less than adequate materials. That is, until last week. Our company is gutting our second and third floors in our building. When I went up to meet with the contractor to discuss payment terms, I noticed offices that had seven large windows which were lightly frosted. I asked the contractor if he was salvaging them and he said they were junk. I asked and got all 7 of the windows along with the box around them for free. They are 4'6" by 3'8". I will be building new beds to fit to them so I can now use them to create cold frames. A bonus is that these are tempered in case anyone should fall into them or whatever. I will begin building the new boxes once my son is moved to college.Very Happy

On another note, this has got to be one of the most challenging summers I have experienced in the mid-atlantic. Using raised beds has it's disadvantages given we have had almost non-stop 90+ degee weather. They just don't do well when the temps overnight get down to just below 80. I must say though, I have yet to get into my second rain barrel. We have gotten just enough rain to keep my 4 55 gallon barrels full most of the time. Has anyone else noticed we go from 60 degrees to 90 almost overnight?

But I do have one success story. I went to Myers Seeds in Baltimore and asked for the best variety of cabbage for our area. The man gave me two packets of what he promised were the best. I just picked two heads that weighed(yes, I weighed them!Shocked ) almost 3 lbs in total. Very firm and I get to eat them tonight.

Hope everyone is doing well in their gardens!


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Re: Score!!! and a little more.

Post  boffer on 8/2/2011, 11:35 am

@SQFTBIX wrote: They are 4'6" by 3'8". I will be building new beds to fit to them so I can now use them to create cold frames. A bonus is that these are tempered in case anyone should fall into them or whatever. I will begin building the new boxes once my son is moved to college.

I was holding my breath though, until you got to the part about the glass being tempered. That's a pet peeve of mine when people use single pane glass in their gardens. It just takes a heartbeat for a child to fall through and be scarred for life, if not killed.

Just some thoughts that might be helpful..

Tempered glass is actually quite flexible, but its weak points are the edges, due to the manufacturing process. Do take care to protect the edges so the pane doesn't shatter when a trowel, for instance, is dropped and hits the edge just right. I used 2x2s to make my frames.

A piece of glass laying flat is rather awkward to move around, raising and lowering. If you have a wood frame around your glass, it makes it real easy to put hinges on.

I have three rectangular cold frames on the ground. The ground is slightly sloped which turned out to be a benefit, because I didn't consider the build up of water on the glass within the wood frame. If your glass is nearly flat, provide some type of drainage.

I tried the style of box where the glass lid is pitched like a roof, but the taller wood sides really cut down on the sun. I've been pleased with just a sfg box that was made to fit the glass I had. The one disadvantage is that there isn't a lot of growing height room. The first box I plant each year is actually a sfg box with two wood frames sitting on top. The second box, I plant 2-3 weeks later, has one frame on top, and the third box, that gets planted a couple weeks after the second, is a sfg box with glass on top. The glass helps warm the soil nicely, I can direct seed, and the weather is getting warm enough to leave the glass open once the seeds are established.

Cold frames have worked well for me in the spring, but in the fall, their limited height makes it awkward for mature plants like broccoli, etc. The last couple years, I've been experimenting with hoop houses over the sfg beds because they allow for the heights of mature plants.

Oh, last thing, you're more likely to burn your tender plants to a crisp because you forgot to ventilate, then have your plants freeze and die. If there's any chance of the sun shining, open the glass.


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Post  SQFTBIX on 8/2/2011, 4:18 pm

Yup, understand about the tempered issue. Had some other glass offered previously but didn't take it as it was too thin. All good points to consider otherwise. Appreciate the input. Can't wait to get it set up.


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