Friday, February 22, 2013

Our First Cold Frame

Matt built his first cold frame a couple weeks ago.  It turned out quite well and has proven to be an interesting little science project already. 
He's been taking temperature readings at various points in the day on thermometers both inside the frame and nearby outside of it.  He has thermometers that record the highs and lows for a 24 hour period.  Its been quite pleasing.  Even with outside temperatures of 30 degrees F  to 50 degrees F the temperature inside the cold frame thermometer showed a inside range from 30 degrees to 78 degrees.  Certainly warm enough for leafy greens!  Matt is glad that is retains heat so well because he can see a couple flaws in his design--things he'll do differently next time--but flaws or not it seems to work.  Superb. 
 
Matt would basically just love to garden year round, not to mention eat fresh veg all year.   While our growing season is long enough by Montana standards, it is apparently not long enough for Matt's.  Fine by me.  I like garden fresh greens.  I bet I'd really like garden fresh greens in December.  Plus he thinks we'll be able to start other seedlings earlier using it as a little greenhouse for our flats of sprouts.

In addition to its function I was impressed in that Matt also managed to construct the thing using all material that we either had laying about or from the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  I've said it before and I will say it again:  that place is amazing.  They had hinges for $ .50 and that were made in America.  They also had handles, which Matt mounted on the sides of the frame for easy portability, for $ .50 each.  The lumber was some that had been left behind when the previous owner of our house moved out.  The caulk was some we had from some other project.  The window we found sticking up out of a dumpster last year (or maybe even the year before that).  There were several more, too, which we still have in store in the shed so I foresee more cold frames in our garden in the future. 

12 comments:

  1. That looks great. Are the rocks for heat retention? I wish a little construction ability remained in my repertoire! I love Matt's can-do spirit and his skill.

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    1. No, the bricks are just the outline of our garden bed. I love his can-do spirit, too. I have it in some departments, but not really in construction!

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  2. Very nice ! And great job on all the recycling. My hubs and I build an entire huge hog shed for our pastured Red Wattles with all leftover "inventory" It came ut looking ecletci and working fantastically. First time to your blog...I'll be back!

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    1. It is so satisfying to build something from scraps and reused items, isn't it?! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  3. Oh Matt! Wonderful job on that cold frame! Looks amazing and functional as well. I just bought a bunch of seeds to get our garden started.

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    1. Tis the seed starting season, isn't it?! Hooray! It always makes me so happy!

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  4. OMG! That's it. I'm declaring it spring in KY. I love to see your all's projects as it brings back so many old memories of my childhood. My father was always building something out of scraps for his gardening projects. Once he built an entire shed out of the pallets these old ammo boxes came on from Fort Knox. No kidding. He used the empty ammo boxes for storage and one whole wall had cubby holes to store things. We stored all sorts of treasures in there.

    BTW you can probably get the little cold frame to retain heat better if you wrap it in two layers of 3 mil plastic. The air in the middle keeps the heat. My dad also had one of those temperature controlled levers to raise the lid when it got too hot. Heat is usually the problem when the sun hits it.

    Have fun! Maybe I will blog about my little projects.

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    1. I bet that was one awesome shed. There is such charm in these reuse building projects, I think.

      Thanks for the tips on the frame. It new to us and I am sure there will be a learning curve. But, it will be a fun experiment all the year through.

      I'd love to see what projects you've been up to!

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  5. I love it! The perfect project to head off spring fever :)
    -Jaime

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    1. The PERFECT project for spring fever indeed!

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  6. That's a great little cold frame there!
    Wish I had the know-how or confidence to construct such a thing.

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    1. Thanks! Yeah, I am glad for Matt's willingness to just jump right in and try things. I am okay at it, but not so much when it comes to using power tools! Eek!

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