Gardening is a wonderful hobby. It has almost too many benefits to name. First of all, gardening allows you to be outdoors. For most gardeners this is an extremely important benefit. Being able to do what you love in the sunshine and fresh air is a fantastic advantage. Then there is the exercise. It may come as a surprise, but gardening is excellent exercise. In fact, the average adult burns over three hundred calories in only one hour of gardening. That’s pretty impressive.
Next, there’s the simple enjoyment of raising beautiful things to look at, smell and eat. All gardeners understand the great satisfaction that comes from growing the vegetables and flowers on your table from hand. Finally, there are the tools and the gadgets that are part and parcel of the gardening game. Every gardener, from novice to expert, has a love for the tools of their trade, so to speak. These tools and gadgets make gardening easier and more fun. Chief among these tools is a cold frame greenhouse.
Plants do not like cold weather. Cool weather can slow growth and effect the production of flowers, fruits and vegetables. Cold weather can damage or kill exposed plants. This is where a greenhouse comes in handy. It is also why greenhouses were first developed.
A greenhouse is primarily a structure or building used to protect plants, flowers and vegetables from cold or inclement weather. It is also used as a way to extend the growing season for these plants, flowers and vegetables. Let’s say a given geographic location is prone to the risk of late frosts in the spring or early frosts in the summer or fall. A greenhouse is a way to prevent these early or late frosts from damaging plants.
Cold frame greenhouses are a simple form of greenhouse that is very easy to make and use. They are nearly always square in shape and built near or on the ground, with a roof constructed of glass or other transparent material. The name “cold frame” means that they are not heated by any artificial means. (As opposed to a “hot frame” greenhouse, that does use artificial heat.) Instead, the transparent roof conducts heat from sunlight into the frame. The frame also acts as a windbreak which, in turn, keeps temperatures raised and steady.
Cold frame greenhouses are primarily used by gardeners for two reasons. First, at the very beginning of the growing season, a cold frame is used to gradually expose plant seedlings to outdoor air temperatures. This process, known as “hardening off”, helps the young plants to survive their initial days and nights in the wide world after being started in a house or other warm environment. Second, at the very end of the growing season, a cold frame can be used to allow fall and winter vegetables to continue bearing crops well after the first hard frost.
Depending on your needs, cold frame greenhouse plans may be something you want to consider. Whenever you may be working with a larger building project, plans help ensure that the job comes off smoothly. Most of us do not have the building necessary to “eyeball” a large building and make construction decisions on the fly. Plans, drawn by a draftsman and designed by an architect, guarantee that your bigger cold frame greenhouse will remain safe and standing, year after year.
In addition, cold frame greenhouse kits are also available. These kits come with everything you need to successfully build a large cold frame greenhouse. This includes framing and roofing materials, nails and fasteners, doors and hardware. Some kits even come with plans to ease the construction process. The only things you need to add are the appropriate tools and the necessary amount of “sweat equity” to bring the job to completion. If you are considering a larger sized cold frame greenhouse, or several smaller greenhouses, a kit is very probably the best way for you to go.
For the large majority of gardeners, cold frame mini greenhouses make the most sense. This is so because most gardeners, by necessity, work with smaller scale gardens. If you live in a location with limited space for a garden, then your garden must conform to this limited space. For this reason, a mini cold frame greenhouse makes an excellent do it yourself project. All you need is lumber for a basic wooden frame and an old window frame with the window still intact.
First, you frame the lumber into a box the size of the window frame. Then you attach one side of the window frame to one side of the box using hinges. The box is your greenhouse. The window frame becomes the roof of the greenhouse and the hinges allow you to raise and lower the roof as needed gain access and to regulate the temperature inside the box.