The Basics of Cold Frame Greenhouses
Cold frame greenhouses are the simplest and most common types of greenhouses. These simple structures can range form large to small, and are heated solely by the sun’s rays. Temperature control is obtained by opening vented tops, or placing shade cloths to protect the plants inside from the sun’s heat. This additional heat can extend the growing season, help you get ahead start on spring, harden off seedlings, or protect delicate plants.
Choosing Cold Frame Greenhouses
When choosing between cold frame greenhouses, it is important to plan ahead and determine your growing needs in advance. Since cold frame greenhouses come in a variety of sizes, you’ll need to determine what size will suit your gardening needs adequately. Small cold frame greenhouses can be constructed from old windows or special plastic sheeting and a basic wood or PVC frame.
You can view blueprints for building your own PVC cold frame greenhouse here: http://www.pvcplans.com/coldframe.htm. (This cold frame greenhouse is constructed of a PVC pipe frame, making it economical to build.)
Another consideration when selecting a cold frame greenhouse is sturdiness. If you live in an area that experiences high winds or rains, you will need a sturdy cold frame greenhouse that will stand up to the elements while protecting your plants inside. These cold frame greenhouses will have rust resistant fittings and hinges, a reinforced frame, and stronger, durable plastic or glass coverings.
Cold Frame Covers
For the more ambitious gardener, you can construct cold frame greenhouses in a variety of sizes and then place them directly over your outdoor garden plants when the weather turns colder in the fall, effectively extending the growing season of your existing outdoor garden. This can be even more effective than container gardening, which allows you to bring plants indoors, since your plants have the benefit of unlimited root growth, and the benefit of the sun’s full-time attention during daylight hours. Some plants, like lettuce, may grow all winter long with the help of a cold frame greenhouse addition.
Cold frame greenhouses are the perfect addition to any gardener’s tool shed, and can effectively increase your gardening productivity and the length of your growing season.
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