Cold frame

Cold frame

So many hobby gardeners can hardly wait until the garden season finally is opened. But actually you do not have to wait until spring starts, but instead you can ring in the garden season now. Some tasks still have to wait, but you can grow vegetables in February.

This works with a cold frame, in which different types of vegetables can be grown in the winter. These include, for example:

  • Salad
  • Radishes
  • Radish
  • All Cabbage Types
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers

We reveal today what to look for in a cold frame and how to optimally

What is a cold frame?

A cold frame is nothing more than a slightly smaller greenhouse. The acreage is lower, but it also takes less space. It is therefore suitable for small gardens. In addition, it is much cheaper than a real greenhouse. The housing is usually made of plastic or wood, so that cold can be well kept away from the vegetables.

Even low solar radiation is sufficient to heat up the bed considerably. The heat radiation penetrates well, similar to a greenhouse, while the radiated heat of the soil remains through the cover within the cold frame. Cold frames are available in every hardware store or garden center to buy completely. It then only has to be set up and planted in the garden.

Hobby craftsmen simply build the cold frame themselves

Alternatively, it is also possible to build the cold frame completely yourself if you have the manual skills. In a very simple variant you build a flat frame made of wood, which slopes to the south. For the cover another wooden frame is used, which is covered with a robust and transparent foil. Hinges attach the wooden cover to the back wall.

The DIY cold frame gets a bit more expensive when you use polycarbonate multiwall sheets for the lid. This type of cover also protects the vegetables much better from the cold and is more robust against wind, rain and frost.

It is also possible to provide the lid with an automatic window regulator, as it is likely to be known to many gardeners of greenhouses , These window openers have a fluid-filled pressure cylinder. The liquid expands as temperatures within the box climb. This will automatically open the cover, so that fresh air can flow in.

Which cold frame variant is the best?

A cold frame can be made of plastic, wood or solid clinker brickwork. The variant made of wood is the best compromise between functionality and flexibility. The wooden box can be easily dismantled if it is no longer needed after the breeding season and then stored, for example, in the shed or cellar. The massive masonry version, while more robust, needs a well-considered location as it can not be relocated to any other location.

Tips for Creating the Cold Bed

The Cold Frame is perfect for all types of vegetables that last a long time Have culture, such as radish, radish and salad. The only requirement that needs to be met is a few frost-free days. In addition, rotting horse manure in the ground can serve as a heat source, so that sowing is possible very early.

The perfect location

For the cold frame, a sunny location is ideal. Ideally, he should also be protected from wind and rain. The box is best placed so that the back wall faces north. This ensures that the grown vegetables can grow to the south.

Creating the optimal environment for the plants

For the plants in the cold frame, an optimal environment is created by mixing a plant substrate of sand, soil and compost. In this way, one ensures that all vegetables develop well and are supplied with sufficient nutrients.

Creating a natural heating for the plants

Experienced gardeners like to give beginners the tip that it's worth their while Horse manure to mix under the ground. Through the process of rotting, heat is produced, which does the vegetables very well, especially on frosty and sunless days. The horse manure therefore serves as a natural heating and allows a particularly early sowing. To create a natural heater in the cold frame, proceed as follows:

  1. Dig the soil in the bed about 40 centimeters deep.
  2. Fill in a 20-centimeter horse dung layer there. Pure horse manure, which does not contain litter, should be mixed with leaf or straw about 1: 1 before use.
  3. Cover the horse manure with an equally thick layer of garden soil to which a little compost or potting soil has previously been added Microorganisms in the soil immediately begin to decompose the nitrogen-rich horse manure. In this chemical reaction, carbon dioxide and heat, which penetrate through the overlying soil layer. So the seeded plants find perfect conditions to germinate and grow quickly. Sowing is possible with natural heating even when the temperature is still very cold or there is still snow.

It takes about one week after the horse manure has been incorporated until the soil is warm enough to start sowing , However, both the manure filling and the soil layer have to be renewed each spring because the horse manure no longer produces any heat when it is completely rotted. It can then be distributed on the garden beds where it serves as a humus donor.

How to sow vegetables in a cold frame

Plants that have a long culture period are perfect for sowing in the cold frame. They are piqued again after sowing and can then be transferred to the garden bed. Cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce and all types of cabbage can therefore be easily grown. It is advantageous to sow these vegetables in individual pots or in multi-pot plates and sink them a little way into the ground. Due to the decomposition process in the soil, the growing soil is still heated, so that the vegetables germinate and grow well.

The young vegetables may be moved into the wild around the end of March to the beginning of April. But you should wait until no frosts are expected. Once the plants have been implemented, the cold frame is then free again for new sowings or short crops. Spinach, lamb's lettuce and radishes are ideal for this.

Artikelbild: © sanddebeautheil / Shutterstock