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The first hard frost is over and you can start by planting a cold frame. With a little skill, a cold frame can be built very well. Creating a cold frame yourself is a fairly simple and effective alternative to a greenhouse. Flowers and vegetables can be preferred early. It extends and optimizes the vegetation period of the respective plants and offers the young plants protection against the capers of the weather in early spring and spring.
Buy cold frame
Throughout the year, you can buy ready-made cold frames in stores or online. The selection ranges from small, ground-level, with foil or glass-covered vessels, up to higher and large-scale cold frames. Some models have heating. The transition to small greenhouses seems fluid. The prices are usually between 30EUR and 200EUR Euro. Mostly they are sold as a kit. If you want to adapt your cold frame to your own needs and have some craftsmanship you can do it yourself.
Build your own cold frame
A cold frame is nothing more than a box-shaped ramen made of metal or wood, which is then filled with foil, Plexiglas or window glass. Then comes a roof construction, which is also covered with translucent material. The height, the size and the shape can be adapted to the individual needs of the self-made. Often a cold frame looks like a small greenhouse. For a small, simple cold frame at least one rectangular basic cut with a footprint of one to two meters should be sought. Some tips for home-building:
- rectangular shape, even the bed center must be easily accessible
- a sloping roof construction with hinges attached to the frame is an advantage (ventilation, drainage)
- a sinking of the walls into the ground prevents passage from below
- as materials are suitable: wooden boards, squared lumber, slats and sturdy foil or acrylic
- the whole bed should fall off to the south to capture the sun's rays optimally and to ensure a good drainage
There is hardly anything that you can not sow in a cold frame. It makes the most sense to sow there vegetables and summer flowers, which have a longer culture period:
- summer flowers
Tip: If you do not feel like planting a cold frame in spring, then the place is ideal for a small mushroom cultivation. Tasty oyster mushrooms, lemon mushrooms and browncaps find optimal conditions for their growth. As a substrate, clean and naturally unspiked wheat straw is optimal.
Once the hard, long frosts are over, you can start rearing in late February, early March. The exact time depends on the region, insulation from the foundation and sidewalls, or whether heating is available. Mostly, the young plantlets can be set out towards the end of March, beginning of April. If you start early, in February, for example, with robust radishes, radish, chervil, lettuce, cress and kohlrabi, you can sow again after the suspension. This time heavy starters like tomatoes, peas, zucchini, melon, peppers, sweetcorn and cucumbers. End of August, beginning of September is time for winter sowing. Now, winter lettuce and radishes can be sown. They are ready for harvest in November. Corn salad, white cabbage and savoy cabbage seeded at the beginning of September can be set aside at the end of March. In winter sowing and planting, you will eventually find out what works well and what does not. With a heated cold frame you have much more room here. Even later in the year, until autumn, the cold frame can be used again for planting lamb's lettuce or winter lettuce. In late autumn and winter, the cold frame can also be used for storing vegetables. It is advisable to smash the vegetables or to easily put them under the ground. So it is longer lasting for a few weeks.
The sunniest area in the garden is just right to set up the cold frame there. During the day, it should almost never be shaded in full sunshine. To absorb even more of the sunlight, the cold frame is easily brought or built in a north-south inclination.If the sun gets too hot and strong in the spring, straw mats or a fleece should be ready for protection. During frosts at night, these can also ensure that not too much heat is released to the outside.
The first layer in the cold frame can be filled with loose topsoil, about 10 cm high. This layer is easily crushed and should take a few days to sag. Then comes a thin layer of manure and on it, a few inches high, potting or again topsoil. At the top, the plantlets must then have a good 15 cm to grow. Then they will be set outdoors.
The seeds are now placed in the prepared soil. Depending on whether they are light or dark germs on, or in the earth. The more space available, the more generous you can put the seeds. This facilitates the later Pikieren. Small seedlings are used with sufficient distance from each other, so they do not dispute each other's nutrients or come with their roots in the enclosure. The tender plants and seeds are then poured very carefully. Best with a fine nozzle, so they do not swim away.
Tip: When planting and sowing care must be taken that the plants do not come into contact with the side walls or the foil, even if they get bigger. The intense heat that comes from sun exposure would burn the plant.
Now it is constantly watching the little charges and pay attention to the weather conditions. Is it particularly hot must be shaded. In good weather, open the flap for longer. Anyway, it is essential to ensure good ventilation every day so that there is no heat build-up or mildew and rot caused by too much moisture.
Pouring and fertilizing
Casting is depending on the weather, because the cold frame is indeed connected to the field. In heavy rains you hardly need to water. Every day the floor must be checked for the right amount of moisture. Casting is best done with rainwater or stale water. The seeds and seedlings need no fertilization here. They extract their nutrients from the dung in the lower layer. In addition, the plantlets develop in the initial phase, with less nutrients, a robust root system.
Diseases and pests
Here, too, must be checked daily for pests or diseases. Although the cold frame offers a kind of protection zone from predators, but if the window often stands up unobserved for a long time, but one or the other hungry guest will be admitted. Even by incorrect ventilation, aphids or molds sneak in.
- the window should not stand up permanently
- It must be closed at night, so that no hungry robbers will attack it, for example snails
- air daily
- a light, constant ventilation ensures that no mold fungi arise
With the aid of a cold frame, vegetables and flowers can be preferred at an early stage. Plants that start in a cold frame are proven to produce a larger crop yield, the flowering is lush. The entire growing season of this plant is prolonged. There is room for a cold frame, even in the smallest garden. A self-made is not very sophisticated. So the bed can be assembled in height and size perfectly for your own needs.