You might think that the growing season has a finite beginning and end: the last frost in springand the first frost in fall. But, in fact, many gardeners try to start planting and harvestingwhen frost still threatens. With a simple coldframe, you can extend your season by a month or more on either end—in some climates, you can grow right through the winter with one. A coldframe is an ideal place to gradually acclimate tomato or pepper seedlings grown indoors to conditions outside.
by Tess Pennington
Not everyone is lucky enough to live in a temperate climate where they can create a year-round garden. Sometimes, we have to make do with what we have.
Using a cold frame is a great way to get a head start on your garden or as a way to extend your growing season during those cooler months.
Cold frames are essentially a mini-greenhouse where you utilize a transparent top (glass or plastic) to allow sunlight to come into the structure and prevent the heat to escape via convection that would otherwise occur, particularly at night. They create a microclimate that provides warmer air and soil temperature, as well as provides young plantlings with shelter from wind. In cold-winter or wet regions, these characteristics allow plants to be started earlier in the spring, and to survive longer into the fall and winter. The most simplistic way to create a cold frame …
Cold frames protect plans from the wind and also retain heat. Gardeners use cold frames to extend their gardening season—to get a jumpstart in the spring when seeds are sowed or to prolong the season in the fall for a couple of weeks. Cold frames are also used to “harden off” seedlings that were started indoors.