Posted by: Bill Stoneman | September 8, 2009

Fall project on the workbench

Cold frame buildingThe woodworking project pictured here is construction of a couple of cold frames.  Basicially, they’re really small unheated greenhouses made out of boards and old windows.  The overall purpose is to extend our brief growing season.

Sun shining through the windows on a bright day will warm the soil inside quite a bit.  The structure won’t retain heat after sundown, but it still will protect plants from harsh winds, standing water and a bit of freezing and thawing.  Enough, in our experience, to get spinach through the winter. Our plan is to get some planted any day now.

It’s worth noting, however, that at about $20 in lumber and hardware, coldframes only are economical if they’re built well enough to last a few years. It was great picking spinach in March, April and May of this year.  But we didn’t get that much. Note also that the back is higher than the front. The idea is to capture as much sun as possible. The back of the box will lie to the north and the front will lie to the south.



  1. Cool. Why do they have bottoms? Why not just put them on top of the soil? Or is that just the work bench showing through?

    • You see the workbench. The boxes have no bottoms. They just sit on the soil.

  2. Very cool. Will you paint them or leave them raw? Dark blue is always nice against snow.

    • It appears that there is a trade off. They’ll last longer if they’re painted. But deteriorating paint would not be good for the soil. More thoughts on this subject would be helpful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: