Gardening Guide Cold Frames
Cold frames are a great way to get an early start on gardening in the spring or to extend the season in the fall, as they protect plants that will not survive outside. Cold frames come in a variety of sizes. Most have wood, metal or plastic sides, while the tops can be glass, Plexiglas, or plastic sheeting. They can be permanently installed in your garden or can break down for easy summer storage. Some types can be mounted to an existing wall, garage or shed. More expensive models have automatic vents that open when temperatures inside the cold frame become too warm for the plants.

The following should be considered when buying a cold frame:
  • Make sure you buy one large enough for your needs. Measure the number of flats or trays you intend to use. If you want to over winter tender shrubs or force large containers of bulbs, you will need a taller cold frame.
  • Consider the strength of the lids. You will need sturdier lids if you live in an area that gets heavy or wet snows.
  • If you are often not home during the day, consider getting an automatic vent that will open and close the lids on warmer days.
  • Cold frames with slanted lids provide the plants inside with more sun.
Remember that the best location for a cold frame is a protected sunny site.

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