Homemade Cold Frame
In March you:
• start your seeds (indoors) and
• tend to them daily by spraying them with warm water to keep them moist, and turning their light on and off to give both a bit of heat and a bit of light.
• allow your seeds to occupy their own corner on your office floor/dining room table/clothes dryer. It’s okay, the seeds won’t be there long, so you just deal with them. It’s best if they’re in a place you need to walk by everyday, that way you can check on them often.
But this March, because in the Northeast we’ve been hurled into spring temperatures at least a month or so early (I am loving this), you can also take your seeds outdoors to warm up for a few hours in the direct sun…hardening them off as they grow.
I did this this past weekend and within a day or so, my zinnias thanked me by sprouting.
Thanks to my enterprising husband, my new cold frame came together in a few hours. It’s made from scraps of wood and old windows he salvaged during our home remodel.
It’s recommended that you paint the interior of your cold frame silver or white to help reflect heat to your plants. I haven’t done that yet. I may, or I may not. Let’s see how fast the seeds sprout first.
“Gardeners should dedicate a monument to the cold frame. It is the simplest, most flexible, and most successful low-tech tool for modifying the garden climate.”
Check out Eliot’s excerpt on the benefits of cold frames here.
Don’t have scraps of wood or old windows around (or a clever person who can build one)? Here’s a cold frame built with cinder blocks and shower doors. I’ve seen them made this way with bricks and rocks too.
Or maybe try something super simple by tossing some well-vented plastic and clips (or stones) around your box of seeds?
And I love the idea of the all-natural cold frame made from four hay bales and a window or two. This method is temporary so it’s easy to move once your seedlings are ready for transplanting or shoot up and grow on their own without the extra protection from the frame.
Just in time to welcome the first day of Spring: All this planting, thoughts of budding flowers and warm-your-back weather is a fine thing. Rather than getting stuck in March as I usually do, I’m launched into the new season with extra energy. And, sooner than expected, some homegrown lettuce.