Cold frame
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Building your own cold frame

If you don’t have the patience to wait until spring for planting flowers and vegetables – go for a cold frame. In your own cold frame, summer flowers and vegetables can be precultured already in August and, if necessary, planted into an outside bed come the first signs of spring. Compared to a greenhouse, the cold frame is much smaller. As it is portable, it can be put quite easily where ever it is needed. Also, it is much cheaper than a greenhouse and therefore easily affordable also for smaller purses.

Technically skilled gardeners can build their cold frame on their own. To do so, just timber a wooden frame and a wooden roof structure and string it with a robust plastic foil or a fleece. Make sure that ventilation is good. Fix the roof with hinges to the frame and mount a stem – lift the roof, set the stem in between – and ventilation is done. If you want a more professional cold frame use polycarbonate plates for the roof. This roof is much more solid and insulating. The cold frame will heat up noticeable already with the first weak sunrays and it will keep the warm air inside – thus your vegetables will have the right climate to grow faster. 

The correct position for a cold frame is an entirely sunny place. Furthermore it should be placed next to the house, so that the cold frame is wind-sheltered. Ideally, the higher backside should point north and the bevelled side south. This way, your cold frame catches most of the sunlight. 

After you have finished building your cold frame you are ready to sow – but aerate the soil first and do not forget to water. If it is still very cold outside, you should also protect your plants with a fleece or straw.

The best vegetables for sowing in August are: artichoke, asparagus, bean, beetroot, cabbage, capsicum, carrot, celery, coriander, cucumber, lettuce, parsley, pea, potato, pumpkin, radish, silverbeet, spring onions and tomato (depending on your region).