What You Need To Know About Cold Frame Gardening

Autumn has fully arrived, but you want to keep gardening for as long as possible. Have you thought about cold frame gardening?

One way to grow lettuces, herbs, root veggies, and other edibles is by building a cold frame that will heat up and keep edibles growing even after a frost or freeze. And making a DIY cold frame isn’t difficult.

What is Cold Frame Gardening?

A cold frame garden is a box-like structure with a clear plastic or glass top. The clear lid should be able to easily open and adjust to allow air into the cold frame.

Cold-frame gardening uses solar energy to heat the garden to grow different produce throughout the fall and into early winter.

Gardeners use this type of gardening to

  • Extend the growing season
  • Grow cold hardy root plants, lettuces, spinach, and other greens
  • Overwinter temperature-sensitive plants
  • Harden young seedlings in early spring before planting them in the garden.

Watch more: How to Assembly the Brinly 10 cu. ft. Dump Care—Model# PCT-101BH

What Grows Best with this Gardening Style?

If your doctor tells you to eat more kale and spinach for heart and eye health, you’re lucky if you’re a cold frame gardener.

With this type of gardening, you can grow these hardy and vitamin-packed vegetables:

  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Collards
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard.

What Do You Put on the Bottom of a Cold Frame?

Your garden should be placed on flat, even ground. You don’t need special pavers, bricks, or other building materials.

Take soil samples to test the area where you’re going to build your cold frame garden, which should be facing the south. Send your samples to your local extension office, which will send you a report with fertilizer and soil amendment recommendations.

Learn more: Spring Flowers to Plant in the Fall

Then, amend your soil and add any fertilizers to it so it can grow those cold hardy vegetables in this type of garden.

For extra insulation, you can use straw, compost, or mulch around the seedlings. Don’t forget that cold frames can get hot on a sunny day. You want to be able to open the cold frame lid to allow cooler air to flow in.

Specifically, you want to open your frame lid in degrees depending on the day’s temperatures. Many gardeners suggest opening the lid when daytime temperatures reach 35°F to 40°F on a sunny winter day.

When Should You Plant a Winter Cold Frame Garden?

Ideally, you should start your winter garden in the early fall when the temperatures cool and the days get shorter.

If you’re building a cold frame from scratch, you need to get your soil tested before you start planting. Plus, you need time to fertilize the soil and get the seeds in the ground while there’s still enough light.

It takes about a month to start your seedlings in the cold frame. One way to circumvent this is by planting your vegetable seeds indoors.

Leafy vegetables will pop up faster than root vegetables. But you can dig up carrots, parsnips, and potatoes in the winter, and they’ll taste sweeter because of the colder soil.

Doing It Yourself!

How do you build a DIY cold-frame garden? There are many plans on the internet that range from difficult to easy. One winter gardener says you can make this a temporary garden with straw bales.

You can also buy cold frame kits online at your nearby big box retailer or your favorite independent garden center.

You can find helpful videos and instructions online if you want to build your cold frame.  

How Brinly Lawn Care and Garden Attachments Can Help

Brinly’s premium lawn and garden products make short work for the most demanding landscaping jobs.

If you’re digging a new plot for a cold frame garden, you’ll need a tow-behind cart to help carry fertilizer, wood or other building material, and soil to your new garden.

Depending on where you’re placing your new garden bed, you may also need our ground engaging garden equipment to break new ground.

We have other lawn and garden equipment at Brinly to help you with creating and maintaining a beautiful property throughout the year:

You can buy your next Brinly lawn care and garden products online. If you have any questions about your Brinly lawn and garden product, contact our customer service today by dialing 877-728-8224 or filling out our contact form.


Blog.Stihl.Co.UK, A Guide to Cold Frames in Your Garden.

FineGardening.com, 4 Ways to Use a Cold Frame.

GardeningKnowHow.com, Plants that Grow in Cold Weather: Spring Planting Cold Season Crops.

SavvyGardening.com, 5 Tips to Successful Cold Frame Gardening.

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