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22/2/2021 - Cold frame greenhouses are usually a small item with a clear lid or roof
Cold frame greenhouses are usually a small, low item with a clear lid or roof.They can be built to fit rows, raised beds, or other shapes of gardening structures.In most cases a cold frame protects plants from cold weather, be it late winter or early spring seedling plantings or late fall to early winter late harvests.They can be constructed in several ways, ranging from staked films in a domed formation to a wooden Decorative Wall Paper frame with a hinged lid.  While a cold frame might not replace a hothouse for some applications, and in fact were historically meant to supplement the use of a greenhouse, they can be used in some areas as a stand alone device.One way a cold frame has been used is in the growth of seedlings.These often are sprouted inside a heated structure then moved out to a cold frame to be acclimated to outdoor extremes before being placed in the ground.To ease this process many cold frames are built on the south side of a heated greenhouse as part of the foundation structure.
 Some larger greenhouses are not heated with the use of solar heating or a heater.Although these can be considered similar to a cold frame, the size makes these structures unheated greenhouses.Another similar device is a hotbed which is small like a cold frame, but supplied with some form of heat generation. Cold frames are widely used for many applications.Not only do they work well for hardening off plants started from seedlings, but many vegetable farms use them to ensure survival of delicate crops in the early and late seasons.Home gardeners and those in more northern climates may use cold frames for growing flowering plants from seedlings also. The micro-climate created inside a cold frame typically raises the temperature of air and soil by a few degrees.  A well constructed cold frame can protect from high winds and hail.
Although the primary use is for seedlings, some cold hardy vegetables are placed in cold frames for the duration of their growth cycle to enable late fall and early winter harvesting.A cold frame can also allow the growth of lettuce, parsley, green onions, spinach, radishes, turnips and other crops off season.When constructed correctly these frames allow earlier planting and faster maturity of these food crops and can help provide fresh grown items year round. One can make a greenhouse cold frame out of spare items around the home or farm, or buy kits to construct them.A cold frame is a great way to recycle old glass windows and spare lumber.  The ideal frame is made to fit the bed it goes with, and has the top slanted the correct angle to maximize the use of the weaker winter sunshine.A frame will be between twelve and twenty-four inches tall.The top is usually hinged so it can be lifted for access.When an old window is not suitable clear rigid plastic sheeting can be used.


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