What is Cold Frame Gardening?
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What is Cold Frame Gardening?

October 12, 2019


Hi, I’m Tricia an organic gardener. Cold frames and hotbeds are easy to
build structures that can help you extend your season or give your plants a jumpstart. Cold frames and hotbeds are basically the
same structure the only difference is that one is heated only by the sun and the hot beds have an alternative heat
source. These are easy structures to build or
there are kits available like this dual cold frame. They consist of a sash made of glass, old windows can work very well, or plastic polycarbonate and a support
frame made of wood, brick or cement block. The front should be at least one foot tall and the back, taller with about a one inch rise for every foot
of frame. Cold frames and hotbeds should be
positioned with a full southern or south eastern exposure. Face the front either southeast or directly south. A wind break to the north or northwest
is recommended. A straw bale, a building even an evergreen hedge row will make a
great wind break. A wind break should not shade your frame. Mobile cold frames like this one are
great for over wintering your half-hearty perennials or they can be positioned a few
inches in the ground for better insulation. And for more permanent structure a hotbed requires a little bit more
preparation you’re gonna need some hardware cloth, some sand, a heating cable, and some burlap. For and electrically heated hotbed dig
down six inches. If the soil is not well drained, dig down twelve inches and add
a layer of gravel. Lay some burlap down either directly over
the ground or over the gravel. Add about a four inch layer of sand. This heating cable with a thermostat will
keep your hotbed warm all winter long so you can grow vegetables throughout the
winter, you can even start your root cuttings or you
can start your spring vegetable garden. The thermostat activates at
temperatures below seventy four degrees and it produces three and a half watts of
heat per linear foot. For warmer climates you may only need ten
watts of heat per square foot, if that’s the case space the cable four
inches apart. In colder areas change your spacing to three
inches apart for fourteen watts per square foot. It’s important to lay your cable on an
evenly graded bed and not allow the cable to cross itself. Once you’ve laid your cable down add another two to three inches of sand. Just lay your hardware cloth over the
sand. Build or place your cold frame on top. Now add four to six inches of good soil on top and your hotbed is ready to go. If you have a cold frame and not a
hotbed you can insulate with a burlap bag filled with leaves or are you can
add heat with a light bulb. Temperature control is crucial, too much heat is just as bad as too much
cold. A temperature actuated vent opener like this isn’t wonderful accessory to
automatically control temperature. Sashes should be raised opposite
the prevailing wind to prevent your seedlings from being burned by the wind. Water your plants early in the morning so that in the evening when the sashes
are closed, the foliage is dry. Grow food all year long in a cold frame or
hotbed and grow organic for life!

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  1. Very nice demo. Thanks for sharing. I'm hoping to make a cold frame for next season's veggies, and may just go the hot bed route instead now.

    Take care, Roosevelt

  2. Thank you for your video. Pleasant voice, and directly to the point with awesome information. I do have a question or two. Why are cold beds built at an angle with the back rising up ? Is there a way to convert a square foot flat garden box to accomplish using it as a cold frame?

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