Build and plant a cold frame


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A cold frame enables the pre-cultivation and cultivation of vegetables and herbs almost around the year. In the cold frame, you can already sow vegetables such as onions, carrots and spinach from the end of February. In the spring, the harvest of lettuce, radishes and kohlrabi can also be brought forward by a good three weeks. In addition, one prefers the first seedlings for the field. In summer, the box is used for warm peppers, aubergines or tomatoes, and in autumn and winter endives, postelein and lamb's lettuce thrive there. Whether you opt for a simple wooden box or a model made of insulating, translucent double-skin sheets: a sunny, sheltered space is important. Make sure that the temperature inside does not exceed 22 to 25 degrees. Therefore always air well! Practical are automatic openers, which lift the cover automatically depending on the temperature.

Material for the cold frame

Early season start with the cold frame

An unheated cold frame does hardly more work than the cultivation under fleece and foil; but it allows the cultivation of vegetables almost all year round. In principle, cold frames work like greenhouses: air and soil heat up under the glass or the plastic cover, which stimulates the seeds to germinate and the plants to grow. Even against cool nights and wind protects the cover. Tip: Build the cold frame on the principle of a raised bed. Crushed plant material or manure as a soil layer warms up during rotting and additionally promotes growth.

Ventilate cold frame

In strong sunlight, the plantlets need fresh air

Double-walled cold frames are better insulated, easier to handle and are also offered with automatic window regulators. The alignment is also important: an east-west orientation guarantees the best light utilization in low sunshine in spring and autumn. Do not underestimate the power of the winter sun. On mild sunny days the temperatures in the cold frame rise so much that you have to ventilate. On very cold nights, you should cover the bed with pimples or mats to protect the still young plants from frost.
The model shown (by Feliwa) is 120 inches wide and 80 inches deep. It is made of glazed pine wood, the lid windows are made of insulating polycarbonate double-skin sheets. To assemble the kit you only need a screwdriver or cordless screwdriver.

Build a bed for spring yourself - step by step

Screw side walls

Screw walls together

First, screw the walls of the kit. This works best when you are a couple

Attach the strip

Fix the window

To stabilize the box is a bar that connects the two longitudinal walls in the top center (left). Then attach the hinges for the two windows (right)

Screw on chains

Screw on the window opener

Place the screws for the two chains so that the windows tilt slightly backwards when opened (left). In order to keep the windows open in warm weather, a short strip is fastened from the inside to the front. It is only screwed on one side (right) so that it can be turned up

Select location

Draw contours

Place the cold frame in a sunny spot facing south (left). Using a spade, retract the contours inside the box and then move the box to the side (right)

Dig up the ground

soil preparation

Lift the soil on the marked area. Depending on the planned filling you have to dig different depths (left): Classical manure is introduced, about half a meter deep. If, as in our example, you only fill in some half-ripe compost (on the right) at the bottom, then one depth of the spade is sufficient

soil preparation

Plant a cold frame

Fill up the trough again: For a manure bed, spread about 40 centimeters of cattle dung (layer by layer and repeatedly congeal) and then spread 20 centimeters of garden soil mixed with ripe compost

In our example, at the bottom, about 15 centimeters of semi-mature compost was filled in and 50 liters of potting soil were distributed. Then level the surface with the rake (left). Put the box back on and watch for a good edge finish. The box provides a sheltered climate, a layer of rotting manure or semi-mature compost in the ground adds extra warmth. Depending on February you can plant the first salad from the middle of February or sow radishes and cress (right).

Video Board: How To Build A Cold Frame For Growing Winter Vegetables.

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