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Next Article: Prepare your garden now for the winter so it will be ready in the spring

Extend Vegetable Gardening Season with a Cold Frame


Date Posted: October 26, 2014

Seeds of the Month Club by Mike the Gardener Extend Vegetable Gardening Season with a Cold Frame
photo credit: iStockPhoto

Many of us live in climates where the weather changes from hot to cold in a matter of days. We are the unfortunate many that can not grow peppers and tomatoes year round, but with cold frame gardening we can extend our season through the cold winter months with great tasting lettuce greens, kale, spinach, chard and broccoli to name a few.

A cold frame is a way to protect what you are growing from the harsh cold winds that old man winter blows in. At the same time it allows plenty of sunlight to get in, and if designed correctly will give your plants plenty of air through proper ventilation.

There are a number of websites and gardening centers that sell cold frames. They range from the inexpensive to the “very” expensive. I find, however, the most rewarding cold frame is one that you can build yourself.

Roger Marshall, author of the book How to Build Your Own Greenhouse, agrees.

Roger does his gardening in Rhode Island, and having been in the great Ocean State myself during a winter a few years ago, I know it can get very cold there. In the coldest of winter months of January and February, Roger has grown various greens and broccoli in a cold frame he built himself out of some old storm windows.

Roger does his gardening in Rhode Island, and having been in the great Ocean State myself during a winter a few years ago, I know it can get very cold there. In the coldest of winter months of January and February, Roger has grown various greens and broccoli in a cold frame he built himself out of some old storm windows.

He recommends a number of ways you can build easy to use cold frames, such as using straw and hay bales as well as using a side of a wall of your house. You simply use these items to form a garden bed. Just be sure to cover with some clear plastic to let the light in but keep the cold out yet easy enough to open up for daytime ventilation.

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What about watering methods and other tips to make cold frame gardening a success? According to Jana Vanderhaar of Verdant Connections Landscape Architecture, “Water your veggies by hand, and don’t forget to open the cold frame during the day for ventilation and close again in the evening.” He continues on, “We grow many lettuce varieties, kale, chard, arugula, bok choi, tat soi, parsley, green onions, cilantro, and mache. The greens taste best once a frost has passed, because the nutrient density is increased. Yum!”

If you were thinking about hanging up your gardening gloves for the winter, think again. Cold frame gardening is a great way to keep going. Use some of these tips above to create your own cold frame and have a winter garden for yourself.


Please share this article! Let`s get everyone gardening!


Mike the gardener

About the Author

Mike Podlesny is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person as well as the creator of the Seeds of the Month Club where members receive non gmo, heirloom variety seeds every month. You can listen to Mike each week on the Vegetable Gardening Podcast where he interviews gardening industry experts. Don`t forget to link up with Mike on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.


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If you want to learn more about cold frames, check out these titles below:


KEYWORDS:

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