Cold frames are like magical mini greenhouses for seedlings. They are used for acclimating your delicate seedlings to the variable weather conditions outdoors. If you’re starting your seedlings indoors, a cold frame will maximize your seedling’s chances of survival.
As previously mentioned in my post about starting a seed germination station, I picked up a couple of books to help me with my vegetable garden this year and both of them provide extensive information on Cold Frames and how to use them. I will be following the steps recommended in these books to use a Cold Frame to transplant my seedlings into the garden.
Now is not the time to transplant directly into the garden. Last Tuesday the weather was terrible, we had sleet and freezing rain that closed many major roads and closed most businesses for the day. Since I’ve already started a few plants, they will need a safe home during such adverse weather conditions. Although the last frost is not slated until the end of March, I hope to have a few plants in the garden before then. Hardening them off in a Cold Frame will maximize their chances of survival.
What is Cold Frame
I like to think of Cold Frames as miniature greenhouses. Their purpose is to provide controlled warmth and shelter. As you get your plants ready for the outdoors, you can either set them outside for short periods of time and increasing their time out until their acclimated, or you can use a Cold Frame and leave them outdoors.
Here are a few examples of cold frames. If you’re handy, you can build one yourself, or if you have other priorities you can buy a pre-made kit.
Purchasing a Cold Frame
I decided to buy one this time around and ended up getting this one.
It took about 10 days for the cold frame to arrive but it was worth it. The Cold Frame came in a large wooden box and needed some assembly.
Now that the cold frame has been assembled, the next step is finding a good location for it. From what I’ve read this should ideally be a place that gets plenty of sunlight and is also protected from the weather on one side.
I placed my Cold Frame near the garden against the house facing South to get the most amount of sunlight possible.
Stay tuned – The Cold Frame is almost ready to be used. I will follow up with a post on preparing the bed of the Cold Frame and managing the temperature inside the Cold Frame.