Cold Frame

Definition - What does Cold Frame mean?

A cold frame is a useful piece of equipment for cool and cold-weather gardening. Cold frames are four-sided frames and boards that have a removable glass or plastic on top.

The cold frame is placed on the ground and is used to house, protect, and harden off seedlings and small plants without the use of artificial heat. The structure protects plants from cold weather and also lets the sunlight in so the plants can continue to grow.

A cold frame is like a miniature pop-up greenhouse designed to be used for only a fraction of the regular growing season.

MaximumYield explains Cold Frame

Cold frames use the solar energy stored in the structure and soil from during the day. A light-permeable cover such as glass, Plexiglas, or greenhouse plastic is placed on the top and the sides are made of any material that will create a supportive structure for the cover. A bottom is not really necessary, so the soil is usually used.

With cold frames, it is possible to harvest vegetable crops ahead of their normal season and this is very useful, especially since they are extremely expensive to buy outside of the regular growing season.

Some crops suitable for growing in a cold frame include lettuces, parsley, salad onions, spinach, radishes, turnips and so on. One vegetable crop can occupy the whole of a cold frame or a combination of crops can be grown so that they mature in rotation in order to get a wide range of different vegetables throughout the year from a single cold frame. Since the plants inside will only be a little bit warmer than the outside air, cold frames are mostly used for frost-tolerant crops.

A few basic factors must be kept in mind when using cold frames, such as some plants grow better in cold frames than others. Low growing, cool-season plants would be the most suitable plants to grow in cold frames. In all cases, the main conditions that need to be monitored and controlled are temperature, sunlight, moisture, and wind exposure.

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