These cold frames use the side of a building for added protection from the elements.
Thanks to my good friend Shawna Coronado for the photo.
At this time of year, you are probably beginning to think about cold frames and if you’re not, you should be. Cold frames allow us to grow garden plants when the climate and conditions are unfavorable, especially in late fall and early winter. In some zones, cold frames may even make it possible to continue growing right through the winter!
Cold frames run the gamut from elaborate and expensive contraptions to the most humble and simple of designs, but if you are not in the market to purchase a cold frame this year, you can quite easily build your own cold frame. What’s more, if you are gardening in raised beds, you are already ahead of the game.
A simple cold frame plan could begin with nothing more than cinderblock, wood, hay, or even earth stacked around your plants, just a few inches higher than your plants. Once you have established a solid perimeter with your choice of material, you will need to cover your cold frame. If you have an old window or storm door in the garage, they are perfect for this use. Otherwise you could use pieces of acrylic, fiberglass or heavy gauge plastic sheeting, just be sure that your material of choice allows plenty of light to get through while protecting your plants from the elements.
The truth is that a cold frame is literally just a box that surrounds your plants with a cover that allows light in but keeps the cold and wind out. What? You expected it to be more complicated than that?