A Beginners Guide to Cold Frame Gardening
Ever thought how nice it would be to be able to enjoy fresh salad produce, grown in your own garden, all year round? Perhaps you’ve considered investing in a greenhouse to help with seasonal gardening, but the size just wouldn’t be practical for your outdoor space. Well, this is where cold frames come in. Cold frame gardening is something that once you’ve mastered and got used to, will transform your gardening and enable you to work on exciting projects throughout the year.
What is a Cold Frame?
Cold frames are designed to let you grow plants in an enclosed environment. Just like a tiny greenhouse, a cold frame houses your plants and keeps the conditions specific to your needs. Some people like to build their own cold frames from wood and glass, however, there are so many great cold frames available online like this range from Two Wests that are designed to do the job for you.
The concept of a cold frame is to protect your plants and enable them to grow to their full potential. It doesn’t matter what season it may be; your cold frame will enable you to grow specific produce and plants throughout the year even in colder weather conditions.
Advantages of Cold Frames
- Cold frames are ideal for use when a greenhouse is just out of the equation. Greenhouses are large and take up a lot of space, whereas a cold frame is much smaller and can be positioned in a small space without taking away from you’re the main uses of your garden.
- You’ll find that growing your plants and produce in your cold frame is much cheaper than opting for a greenhouse. Whilst a greenhouse is a great option for those with a bigger budget, a cold frame is going to help you achieve your goals at a much lower cost.
- It’s easy to customise a cold frame to suit your exact needs. The layout, design and style is much easier to determine in comparison to a greenhouse as you have more budget to play around with the features your cold frame has.
Disadvantages of Cold Frames
- Cold frames are known for keeping the soil within them dry, which can ruin your plants if you don’t keep on top and manage. You need to introduce a frequent watering schedule to ensure that your soil is hydrated and not drying out and causing your plants to die.
- It’s often found that cold frames are quite humid features, and this too can have a negative effect on whatever your growing.
- You don’t have the luxury of walking into your cold frame, as you would your greenhouse, and being able to work from a larger space. Cold frames are ideal for smaller, simple projects whereas a greenhouse that you can walk around in is much more suitable for larger projects that require a lot of hands on work and time.
How to Succeed with a Cold Frame
There are a number of key indicators that are going to help you succeed when it comes to cold frame gardening. The main thing to focus on is the location of your cold frame, is it going to be positioned in the best location to ensure it sees enough sunlight throughout the day. You want your cold frame to get as much sunlight and heat as possible, so you need to choose a location that spends most of the day in direct sunlight.
Similarly, you need to ensure you’re using your cold frame properly. Frequent cleaning and maintenance are crucial to ensure your projects go to plan and run smoothly. If you fail to maintain your cold frame, you could potentially jeopardise your plants progress and result in wasting time and money.