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A Cold Frame To Protect Your Plants In The Winter

A cold frame is a great inexpensive outdoor feature to build or install for your plants during the winter months. You can put existing plants inside or do some seedlings.

If you are germinating a lot of seedlings, I recommend a greenhouse with heating, fan and louvers. I had a 20 x 30 greenhouse for over ten years and germinated thousands of seedlings, and kept existing plants throughout the year. A great plant to store in a greenhouse during the winter months are ferns.

For the casual gardener, a properly sized, properly built cold frame will have enough space to handle plant's needs during the cold season.

Before walking you through some simple basic steps of building a frame structure, think about what plants would work for you in this type of structure.

Do you have any special plants that you want to keep healthy and safe through the harsh winter months?

The size of your frame will depend on how many plants you keep in the structure or how many seedlings you want to germinate before the warm weather returns. Here is an example of a simple frame. It's four by eight feet (1.25 by 2.5 meters), which is a good size to work with.

Herbee Shares Simple Steps In Building Cold Frame

  • The first step is to find level ground near your house or another protective structure on your property. I usually suggest near your house if possible as it will be easier for you to work with the plants. The south side is the best place, as this is the warmest side during the harsh months. It is a good idea to prepare the ground some by raking any debris such as rocks or other materials.

  • I recommend pressure treated lumber as this will last longer in natural elements. Another popular wood is cedar.

  • The frame itself is built on top of the ground with stakes driven in on all four sides and in the middle of the length of each side.

  • The back will need to be two feet tall and face the north. The front will need to be one foot tall.

  • Put cross boards of two by fours over the top. Nail them to the back and front board. This will support your glass or canvas covering.

  • A glass covering is good for colder climates where the temperatures and wind are more brutal and the ground freezes. The canvas or muslin can be used in warmer climates, especially where the ground doesn't freeze.

  • Canvas and glass will protect your plants from the wind, as well as direct the amount of air flow through the cold frame. The glass can be purchased from commercial companies. Most of these companies have instructions on putting the cold frame together.

  • Once you have the frame completed and the plants inside, you will want to regulate the air flow. Always roll back your canvas to the opposite side where the wind is blowing. This also is true when raising your glass. You want the best possible ventilation for all your plant species. Once the winter weather subsides and there are signs of spring, open the canvas or glass up more often to get your plants used to the natural environment.

Herbee's Hot Buzzing Cold Frames

You can also buy a galvanized steel frame and polyethylene film to cover the frame. There is a little more involved in this type of outdoor frame but the plants will be well protected in this closed in environment.

Many of your perennials and shrubs can survive in a small structure during the winter season. Herbee and I hope this article has informed you on a few tips about caring for your plants in the outdoor elements during the winter months.

Other Articles You Might Be Interested In.

Perennial Flowers For Your Cold Frame --- Annual Flowers

Deciduous Plants --- Outdoor Features

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