The building of the cold frame has been frustratingly slow this week. Dodging the downpours, I thought I’d never make it and I began to question my motives….The trials and tribulations of cold frame growing….before I’d even begun growing! But thankfully persistence pays off (eventually!) and I now have something that partially resembles a cold frame.
The main reason I had for making a cold frame in the first place was because I hadn’t been able to find commercially made cold frames on sale here. In many ways though, it’s probably been a good thing as, besides from it costing less, it means I have been able to tailor one to suit the space that I’ve got.
I’ve found an old window and bought some wood planks from the local builders’ yard. I’d initially tried to source reclaimed wood but it was taking too long to find uniform pieces that I could use. My kit also includes some galvanised nails, wood primer and paint. By far the most expensive element of this construction project has been the paint. Given this cold frame will have to withstand snow, rain and cold temperatures I’ve chosen the best exterior wood paint I could afford.
This morning I finished the main construction, give or take replacing some of the nails on the sides which decided to go wonky towards the end just as the rain started to fall again (I’m giving them a mind of their own by the way; it was nothing to do with my wobbly hammering of course…).There’s something of rustic charm about my frame! Hopefully it will stand the test of time. I had to carry it inside to dry off so, at this stage at least, I can definitely vouch for it being very solid!
I’ll shave off the posts so they are more neat and flush to the sides and then apply some wood primer on it. Even though the planks come pre-treated, the posts and sawn edges will benefit from a coat. Once all painted, it’ll be ready for the window to be attached onto it.
The window itself I sanded down before applying some primer to the wood that hadn’t been painted before. Then I put a few coats of the paint. Here it is in progress. I hadn’t removed the hinge from the window as the window came complete with its frame so I’ll be able to re-attach the original hinge from the frame onto the cold frame. It wasn’t really planned this way but it has worked out well rather than have to buy a new hinge.
The shape of my cold frame corresponds to what I’ve read as being the most suitable for winter cold frames. Whereas summer cold frames can have a sharper angle of glass, winter cold frames by comparison should have a more shallow angle so as to capture as much as possible of the sunlight that sits lower in the sky over winter. I’ll position the cold frame next to my other plants, alongside the south-facing wall of my house. It will provide a sheltered spot but, more importantly, this direction will help the plants maximise the fewer hours of daylight there are over the coming winter months.