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Use a Homemade Cold Frame to Grow More Veggies

Use a Homemade Cold Frame to Grow More Veggies

Gardening guru Eliot Coleman, author of Four-Season Harvest, asserts that “the basic cold frame is the most dependable, least exploited aid for the four-season harvest.” And the good news is that you can construct a homemade cold frame without much effort. Why not make a weekend project of it?

A cold frame is a simple structure, often made with recycled materials—which means you can construct one without spending much on supplies. You can use bricks or even reclaimed wood from an old barn or deck for the sides, and you can use an old window for the slanted top. Just use hinges to attach the wood frame of the window to the base of your cold frame.

Gardeners who are trying to become more food self-sufficient and buy fewer veggies from the grocery in the off-season store will love the advantages a cold frame provides. Even in chilly winter months, a cold frame will keep vegetables such as spinach and lettuce healthy and harvestable. If you already have these crops in your garden, you can simply place a cold frame over the top of them. If not, try planting into the cold frame as you would a raised bed, and enjoy fresh food from your own yard several weeks earlier in spring and later in fall than you would otherwise.

Check out How to Build a Cold Frame and Use Cold Frames to Grow More Food for a building plan and more information.

If you’re trying to decide which crops to grow in your homemade cold frame, start with greens and other cold-hardy crops such as beets, carrots and turnips. For more ideas, consult It’s Fall: Plant Cool-Season Vegetables.

Photo by Istockphoto/SkyF

7 Reasons to Grow Your Own Food

Read more: Home, Lawns & Gardens, Materials & Architecture, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, , , , , ,

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Shelley Stonebrook

Shelley Stonebrook is an Associate Editor at Mother Earth News—North America’s most popular magazine about sustainable, self-reliant living—where she works on exciting projects such as Organic Gardening content and the Vegetable Garden Planner. Shelley is particularly interested in organic gardening, small-scale, local food production, waste reduction, food preservation and cooking. In her spare time, she posts in her personal blog, The Rowdy Radish.


+ add your own
9:58AM PST on Feb 5, 2012

We just made one of these for the environmental club at my school!

5:22AM PST on Feb 5, 2012

Thanks for the article.

4:51PM PST on Feb 4, 2012


4:44PM PST on Feb 4, 2012

Thanks for the information

12:14AM PST on Dec 4, 2011

Thanks for the information.

2:44PM PST on Nov 15, 2011


6:29AM PST on Nov 15, 2011

useful idea

6:24AM PST on Nov 14, 2011

Thanks. Great idea.

3:01PM PST on Nov 13, 2011

Thanks for the info. Cold frames are very handy to start your plants which saves ya some money

4:56PM PST on Nov 12, 2011

Absolutely great idea - Thank YOU!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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