Winter Lettuce in Cold Frame - Knowledgebase Question

Minneapolis, MN
Avatar for ceciliapaget
Question by ceciliapaget
November 22, 1999
It's mid November, zone 4, and I'm growing lettuce and other greens in my well-insulated cold frame. How long can this last? Can I add a light bulb, a string of Christmas lights or other heating device and continue to grow greens through a Minnesota winter?

Answer from NGA
November 22, 1999
Depending on how well insulated your cold frame is, the microclimate for its location, and on the weather, you should be able to keep cold tolerant greens growing for quite a while into the cold weather. Some may even slow down almost completely and then start growing again in very early spring. You are right in thinking that a simple heat source such as a light bulb can extend the season significantly. I would caution you that whatever you use should be of good quality and made for long term operation to make sure it is as safe as possible; there are in fact heating cables made for such a purpose. In the olden days gardeners would build a cold frame over what was essentially a hot manure pile and capture the heat from that -- these days we have more options!

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