Vegetables and Fruit forum: Extending the veggie season with cold frames

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Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Jan 20, 2013 2:09 PM CST
My friend uses unheated cold frames to extend the season for fresh veggies. Last harvest was Dec 15, 2012 and she plans to start up again in Feb when the days start getting a bit longer. Dec 15 was a high of 5.5ºC/22.1ºF and low of -10ºC/14ºF
I hope she does a workshop.

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[Last edited by Joannabanana - Jan 20, 2013 2:11 PM (+)]
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Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
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SongofJoy
Jan 20, 2013 3:30 PM CST
Bravo for your friend!! Thumbs up I love cold frames. I use a cold frame as well and have a portable/moveable one although was not able to use it this year due to illness. Everything got put on hold. Here people sometimes use basement window wells to achieve the same thing, especially in an older house. Sample below:

http://www.everchanginggarden.ca/wpblog/2012/05/09/window-we...


The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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Newyorkrita
Jan 22, 2013 1:46 PM CST
Sounds like a great idea. I wish I had a cold frame.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Jan 24, 2013 11:37 AM CST
Mine is "portable" and lightweight but sturdy. Works well for me. I don't have basement window wells or a large cold frame set-up so the smaller one meets my needs. It's also nice to be able to move it to cover things in the ground.
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jan 25, 2013 5:43 PM CST
How effective do you think a low hoop poly-tunnel is, as a cold frame?
Assuming the long axis ran East-West.

Does a cold frame totally need the bottom 6-10" as an insulator like thick wood? It always seemed to me that, with a low sun angle, that would guarantee shade when plants most needed light and warmth.

I set up some low hoops, then a tent, where I had a bed I wanted to keep warmer. It was a somewhat sunny spot in the summer, but NOT in January! I can confirm that a mostly-shady plastic-film tent is indeed a COLD cold frame.

(But sealing some leaks better might at least get the forst to melt off the film faster!)
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Jan 25, 2013 6:44 PM CST
Not sure Rick. I asked my friend to write a little article on her cold frame experience and pointers for our garden club.
This is her 2nd year of growing in late fall and winter.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jan 25, 2013 7:36 PM CST
I've started making note of varieties that people call "very cold hardy". Those are what I'll try first, well, other than plants that have overflowed my light shelf and need to go SOMEWHERE to make room for others.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Jan 26, 2013 4:44 AM CST
Personally, I think the hoop frame would probably be fine in your climate. There are differences in a cold frame and a hoop frame. Hoops tend to catch more wind, and, no, you don't need the bottom wood. IMHO, cold frames are better at heat capture. I have heard that light capture can be more important than heat capture and the hoop frame would seem to have the advantage there. Just IMHO.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Theresa
Calgary AB
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violist
Jan 29, 2013 10:45 AM CST
Ha, I have not been here in an age and there is my photo, what do you know! I used the different kinds of cold frames for different purposes. The transparent ones and hoops are great for wind protection, capturing more heat from the sun, and warming the soil quicker in spring. They really speed things along in the spring and summer for sure. Here in zone 3, I use wood frames lined with thick insulation to keep things alive and growing far into the winter. And yes, I use the most cold hardy varieties of the the most cold hardy vegetables. I just find it a challenge to see what I can keep going when it drops to minus 25, which it does here.
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
Joannabanana
Jan 29, 2013 10:54 AM CST
Theresa,

That is an awesome picture of you with your fresh winter harvest. Thanks for the extra info on your successes.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Jan 29, 2013 11:38 AM CST
Thanks!

Capturing heat and warming soil in spring (and keeping the rain off) are what I most want. Also, holding seedlings that I started inside while spring is still yo-yo-ing between 30 and 70.

Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
Image
SongofJoy
Jan 29, 2013 11:48 AM CST
Wind is rough on hoop frames and plastic here. That's the "new tornado alley" for you. Glass and heavy and anchors in the ground are what works here. We don't have anywhere near -25 so things perk along nicely in the lighter weight cold frames without wood and insulation.

I applaud you for going for it, Theresa. I don't know that I would in your climate. Bravo. Hurray!
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Theresa
Calgary AB
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violist
Jan 30, 2013 2:12 PM CST
Obsessive? Who me? Well maybe a little.....
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
Image
SongofJoy
Jan 31, 2013 2:25 AM CST
Green Grin!
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller

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