How to Build a Cold Frame

Rozie Apps and Oklahoma Gardening
Thursday, 6th February 2014

A cold frame is multifunctional - it is both useful for over-wintering plants and for early spring-sown plants.

For those of us who haven't got a greenhouse, (especially a nice warm one like our editor Maddy's, who has been using her hot bin composter to keep her greenhouse above freezing all winter), the unpredictable weather can have a huge impact on on our young plants.

So making a cold frame is a great way to start off young plants in a warmer and more protected environment, until they are strong enough to be planted out in the unpredictable weather.

This cold frame is a simple box made from wood cut-offs and an old window panel. It can be made from all types of materials, but wood is a good insulator. If a thrown out window is unavailable, thick clear plastics can be used instead, by either glueing or nailing the sheets to a frame.

If materials can be found from scrapyards, from friends or sites like Freecycle, this is a very cheap and easy way to get a head start on your vegetables, giving you a better chance of a healthy and abundant crop later in the season! 

Further resources 

For a self-opening cold frame, read how Mark Anslow built his

For more on sowing seeds early, why not try using reflected light

Editor Maddy Harland shares how she Heats her Greenhouse with Compost and Manure 

In issue 79 of Permaculture magazine, editor Maddy Harland, visits Charles Dowding's no-dig garden and learns how he uses hot beds in the greenhouse and garden so he can sow seeds in January. Find the issue in print and as a PDF.


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