DIY Cold Frame – GardenFork
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DIY Cold Frame – GardenFork

October 8, 2019


(dogs panting) – Hey everyone, welcome to Garden Fork. Today, we’re gonna show
you how to make cold frame out of an old window. This is an old storm window
maybe one of your neighbors or you’re replacing your windows, you drive around the
neighborhood sometimes and people will have
a stack of old windows out for pickup from the sanitation. So you can take one of these and make it a really nice cold frame. We have a previous video
about making a cold frame out of plastic and this
one with a glass window is a lot more robust. So you can make the hoop
house one with the plastic or you can make this one. We’ll show you how today, alright. (dogs panting) (upbeat music) It’s just a fest out here with the dogs. (laughing) Took my head off. Alright, so the first thing you want to do when you’re making your cold frame, you find yourself an old window frame. Be wary of lead paint. If there’s lead paint on the frame (dogs barking) There’s a way to test for that. You can get this little
test at the hardware store. Excuse me. You can give this a couple of
coats of outdoor latex paint that seals everything in. What you want to do
first is figure out how, what kind of an angle do you
want your cold frame to be at. Eliot Coleman has a great book called The Four Season Gardener and he talks about the
right kind of angle. I kinda like it about here because my thinking is the snow comes and slides off, right. I mean my life is a big experiment and this is kind of experiment too. But let me show you how I
figured out how to make the box. We’re basically gonna build a
box to fit around this thing. Alright, real quick. Prop this up to the angle you want. Measure the back two, so it’s level with the front. That’s 17 and a half inches. And then add on to it
however much more higher you want the box. And I want this to be
about 6 inches on the front so I’ll be 17 and a half plus 6 inches. Then I’m gonna measure from
the front to the back here and that’ll tell me how
wide the box has to be. Plywood, what kind of plywood to use? I mean the best kind of plywood is free or some scrap you have or scrap your neighbor’s throwing out. This is some 3/8 from one
of our plywood boat building projects that I had left over. Don’t use what’s called chipboard or OSB, Oriented Strand Board. This is the stuff that’s, it looks like it’s, well it is, it’s basically compressed chips of wood. This stuff self destructs
as soon as it gets wet. – [Woman] So that’s what
we’re not supposed to use. – We’re not gonna use this kind of thing. This does not like moisture. – [Woman] Got it. – The plywood we’re using
is not outdoor rated but if you give it a couple
of coats of latex paint it’ll last you a couple
of seasons pretty good. (electric saw cutting) (dog panting) (laughing) I have some, this is some stuff
I ripped out of my table saw but you could use a 1
by 1 or a 3/4 by 3/4. Just some little scraps you have. And we’re gonna basically
build a plywood box. So I’m gonna put a short one on the front and a longer one on the back like this. (drill drilling) You want it so that the piece of wood, this is flush with the plywood, flush with the front of the plywood. (drill drilling) (dogs panting) The width of your cold frame
is going to be determined by the width of your window and our window is 54
and a half inches wide. So this is 54 and a half inches wide and this connects to here. (drill drilling) Oh. (laughing) (drill drilling) Oh that was awkward wasn’t it. (laughing) I even did this right, this is amazing. – [Woman] You’re not done. – Oh yeah, I know (laughing). (drill drilling) Cold frames can actually
overheat believe it or not. In the middle of winter you
can get a really hot day and it can toast all your plants because it’s a green house in there and you’re getting what’s
called the greenhouse effect. So most cold frames are you
know not very adjustable you have to manually adjust them. Eliot Coleman in his book, The Four Season Gardener has
these little sticks of wood and he props up the glass up and down. If you want you can
put in a Thermatic-Vent which is what we put in in our hoop house, our plastic hoop house. And that could go right back here. Pretty cool, huh? – [Woman] Yeah. – So that way if the hot house, the cold frame heats up too
much these little vents open up and let out some of the heat. Wow. Measuring can be your friend. – [Woman] How many times did you measure? – A lot. (laughing) I’m gonna take two hinges. (drill drilling) I’ve added a couple of
structural enhancements because this is plywood and
it has a tendency to bow out. So I put a cross piece
right in the middle here. And for the hinges to have some strength I put this little piece of
scrap I had on the back here. Vent will go right there. (drill drilling) Put your saber saw in there and go. (electric saw cutting) And there you go. (drill drilling) (dogs barking) Nice, huh? – [Woman] Yeah. – We got our Thermatic-Vent so it doesn’t overheat in there, perfect. You could start this, you
could start some salad greens in your garden bed the
size of this cold frame. Don’t put the cold frame on, get them started in sprout– (dog barking) Then when it gets really cold, throw the tennis ball and then drop this on and you could get greens
through the winter. Pretty cool, huh? – [Woman] Yeah, so they don’t
grow they just stay green. – They will grow it just
depends on where you are, what your weathers like. If you’re watching on YouTube would you please subscribe to our channel. You can subscribe right
up there the button there. Leave comments below. If you’re on our site right
now let’s start a conversation, tell me about how you
guys build cold frames in the comments right below here. Alright, so make it a
great day and oh also, GardenFork Radio is
our internet radio show which is me talking to
interesting people every week and you can subscribe on
iTunes or listen on our site. Alright, make a great day. – [Woman] Eat your greens.
– I’ll see ya. Eat your greens, yeah. (upbeat music)

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  1. A friend of mine made a couple of these with large plexiglass storm windows, the kind with a 1/2 inch metal frame. They put extra trim around the rim of the box to make sort of a ridge so when they set the window on there, it would stay in place and didn't need a hinge. Thankfully, the wind didn't blow them off. 🙂 I will make cold frames someday… thanks for the instructions — you make it look pretty easy.

  2. Awesome idea, we just replaced our windows and we were going to toss/Craig's list them. Maybe we will keep 1 or 2 and do this

  3. What temperature is to cold? We live in Vermont and it gets below zero every often; would it work better if we had the cold frames close to the house?

  4. How can people take the time to give a thumbs down to someone sharing their Knowledge LOL.
    Great Video. Learned to be aware of over heating thanks. Think I'll put a thermostat in mine.

  5. this is amazing. will probably need two vents since i live in Antigua, Caribbean where temperatures reach something around 34 degrees Celsius and as u know we do not have winter season…. as in no snow.

  6. not sure if this was asked and/or answered…does this keep bugs out/from going into vent when open to regulate air/temperature?

  7. Can I use 3/16 regular glass for a cold frame. I took down my glass shelves and I'd like to repurpose the material. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Now how do you measure for the width of the box for the angle of the window? Because if you raise the front of the window higher up it will be a little longer won't it?

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