Building a cold frame in the cold

First off, we should apparently complain about stuff here more often, because we now have baby peppers!

And how cute they are!
And how cute they are!

In case you’re wondering what the heck we’re talking about, last week we lamented that, with several weeks behind us, our peppers had yet to make any sort of showing. And this after our greens and tomatoes were ready and raring to go.  Well, late Monday, we noticed them…a couple peppers were starting to burst forth from the coir! Maybe the heating pad worked, or maybe it was just patience, but we’re happy that we finally have peppers! The empty rows in the picture above are our 2nd generation seeds. Given how long it took the other seeds to grow, we’re still quite hopeful that at least a few of the 2nd gen. seeds will grow.

So, with a pretty full complement of seedlings in tow, we decided that it was time to take next steps…or rather, get a next step ready. In this case, a cold frame. Over the winter, in addition to planning out the garden itself, we looked into options for hardening the seedlings to the outdoor weather. Sadly, our plastic greenhouse succumbed to the elements, so we needed some other option. We looked into getting another greenhouse, and even thought about building our own, but the budget really wasn’t there. So we decided to take a smaller approach and set our minds on building a cold frame. Luckily, we already had most of the materials we needed, what with all the leftover stuff we saved from our garage roof project. The only things we had to buy for the project were an 8-foot section of corrugated plastic sheeting and brackets for the sheeting. So we braved today’s chilly air (seriously, it didn’t get much above 35 all day, and the breeze didn’t help); and after a few hours of measuring, sawing, drilling, and fastening, we had a completed cold frame!

Getting the 8-foot boards ready.
Getting the 8-foot boards ready.
Boards secured for the cold frame's front panel.
Boards secured for the cold frame’s front panel.
The framed-out top with the corrugated plastic sheet.
The framed-out top with the corrugated plastic sheet.
Working on the sides.
Working on the sides.
Getting the angles just right.
Getting the angles just right.
And done!
And done! (And it’s straight, really. The picture is a little janky.)

We’ve still got a few more finished touches to put on the cold frame, and maybe it’ll eventually get painted to match the garage, but it looks great! Its success remains to be seen, and for some terrible reason, we’re apparently going to have to endure ANOTHER winter storm before anything actually goes in it. Also, the cold fame is right over a swath of day lilies (that are just starting to pop through the soil), so we’ll have to move those before we make the cold frame’s installation permanent. Isn’t it funny how one project inevitably leads to three more? Wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂 (Though we could REALLY do WITHOUT more snow. Just sayin’.)

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3 thoughts on “Building a cold frame in the cold

  1. fmajewicz 03/17/2014 / 12:22 pm

    I’ll let you lament your 35 degree weather and not mention that we were at -2 this morning. I saw green grass, lucky you, we still have 5-6 inches of snow turning to ice left. Of course, it is only March, we could keep our snow until the end of April, let’s hope not!. Your cold frame looks great – good luck with it.

    • Garden State-ments 03/17/2014 / 5:03 pm

      Okay, you win the weather war. 🙂 We did wake up to a few unpleasant inches of snow this morning, but warmer weather ahead promises it’ll melt soon. Hopefully the first day of Spring will really mean Spring!

      The cold frame held up okay to the snow, so it looks like it’ll be good for awhile to come.

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