Cold Frame v. Greenhouse - Knowledgebase Question

Norwalk, IA
Question by bchurchill
February 12, 1998
What is the difference between a cold frame and a greenhouse. Is there advantage to have one over the other?


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Answer from NGA
February 12, 1998

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It all depends on what you need. Gardeners use cold frames to extend the growing season on either end. They're used to grow cold-hardy seedlings, to "harden-off" seedlings (that is, to help them get used to the elements after being pampered indoors), and to overwinter cold-hardy vegetables such as greens. Cold frames tend to be small structures on the ground in a warm, sunny spot, usually against the side of a building.

I think of a greenhouse as a structure you can walk into and workinside. You can modify temperatures and humidity inside a greenhouse so you can grow almost anything you want year round, or, on the other extreme, it can be a low-tech structure that serves the same functions as a cold frame. The Gardener's Supply Co. website (www.gardeners.com) features cold frames, greenhouses and other season extending items - the images may help you understand the uses better than all my words! Hope this helps!

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