*Cold Frame

Growing plants in a cold frame is an old European technique that can work wonderfully in our cold and variable climate.

Using a cold frame will help you extend the growing season significantly.You can seed your vegetables up to one month earlier and grow healthier seedlings with less effort than you would indoors. As well, your plants can stay in the frame protected from frost until late in the winter. Achieving three to four  harvests of greens like spinach, lettuce is one of the possibilities.

When you are seeding, consider plants that are small enough to fit your frame when they are full-grown or seed plants that you are going to transfer to a different bed when the weather allows.  An easy option for the cold frame is to simply place your seeded containers in it. 

Use high quality well drained soil full of organic matter preferably enhanced with compost.  To increase the warmth in the cold frame, consider placing a three inch layer of green manure under your  12 to 18 inch layer of top soil.  You can regulate the temperature in the cold frame by opening the windows fully on warm days or just a crack on cooler days. 

Here are some ideas for plants that you would start in the cold frame then transfer to the garden:

  • Herbs: basil, cilantro, parsley, dill, fennel,
  • Greens: lettuce, spinach, swish chard, kale
  • Brasicas: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, 
  • Annnuals: you can purchase early and store under your glass until mid may or seed your favorites
  • Perrenials: you can purchase early and store under your glass until mid may or seed your favorites
  • Tomatos, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, peppers, eggplant, Choose a small peat container for easier transfer.

These plants can stay in the cold frame throughout the growing season:   

  • Herbs: basil, cilantro, parsley, dill, fennel,
  • Greens: lettuce, spinach, swish chard, kale
  • Brasicas: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, 

A cold frame is a great gardening solution that supports plant growth efficiently and offers a successful method to growing organic food. 

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This information is coming to you from Bloom Garden Design committed to helping you create environmentally responsible landscapes.