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Cold Frame – Finished?

Posted by tinako on October 7, 2012

I “finished” my cold frame this afternoon.  I use quotes because while it may work perfectly, I imagine there will need to be changes made.  Coming down the home stretch, I started choosing the simplest options involving the fewest power tools.  Maybe it will work as is.  For the back story see my previous post.

The picture at left shows how I left it since it’s warm enough and was starting to rain and I wanted to expose the garden.  Only the leftmost light is on; it’s the one with the automatic arm attached – the arm unclips quickly but on a whim I left it on.  The other three lights are stored nearby.  The post at the front corner is a fencepost; nothing to do with the cold frame.

I thought a LOT about how to keep these lightweight lights from blowing away and how I would open them for venting and garden access.  I considered bent nails, hook and eyes, Velcro, and other ideas, but in the end decided to do no cutting, drilling or shopping.  I went for nails on the ends of the front and back spans, onto which I’ve hooked rope that runs along the tops of those spans.  The lights just tuck under the ropes.  They’re somewhat sheltered here, so hopefully that will hold them on.  The one light with the automatic arm is not under the ropes.

I should mention that those wavy white things along the top front and back are foam things they sell with the corrugated plastic.  One package was plenty and I just caulked them on.  There is a small gap at the sides but I’m going to see how the temps go before I bother putting a strip of something there.  This thing isn’t a submarine.

I also thought a lot about how to connect the arm to the light.  Considered connecting it at back or front using a board to support the flexible plastic (they bend a lot in that direction).  I decided the side would be simpler in that the corrugated is strong that way and it would open more (the whole four feet back).  I installed the arm at a slant to match the slant of the frame, of course, and it should push up the whole left side.

Even after reading the whole book Four Season Harvest I’m a bit unsure as to when I should put the lights on and when I’ll need to vent.  I think I’ll be watching my thermometer till I get the hang of it, trying to keep the temperature as close to about 60 as I can.  I had bought a wireless thermometer/humidistat but it doesn’t record high/low temps, which I think would be useful for seeing overnight or “oops, I forgot to take off the lights” temps, so I guess I’ll exchange it.

I bought a pH detector for $10.  It also detects moisture and light.  My soil was 6.0, so I sprinkled on some lime per package directions.

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2 Responses to “Cold Frame – Finished?”

  1. […] cold frame isn’t growing things very speedily.  Seeds I planted at the end of August germinated quickly […]

  2. […] been making my salads with greens from my cold frame.  This one is mostly composed of the mystery green and arugula, with cilantro, tomato, cuke and […]

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