The Q&A Archives: Using A Cold Frame

Question: How and when do I use a cold frame (including soil needs, watering, light, air)-- i have a wood frame with clear 3 plexiglass windows that lift up.

Answer: Cold frames are most often used to condition transplants for the garden. Seedlings in small pots are kept there to protect them from cold nights and wind while they become acclimated to life outdoors. The lids are opened partially or all the way during the day to allow sunshine and fresh air to reach the plants, then closed at night. (The small spaces tend to overheat during the day if left closed.) The soil would be whatever you have used for your seedlings, most people use a soilless mix for this purpose. The little plants need to be watered often enough to keep the soil from drying out completely. This may be daily or twice a day or every other day depending on the wind and temperature and size of pot relative to the plant. Every cold frame operates a little bit differently depending on its construction, location and the weather that year. It is really a case of trial and error and seeing what works best for you.

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