Saturday, March 24, 2012

Old Frames to Cold Frames

One of the techniques I have used recently, is the recycling of old window frames. Not just window panes, but window Frames. The entire window unit, that is pulled out of houses that includes the aluminum framing and wood structure that frames the window.

This frame system acts as my future cold frame and the aluminum window track and window acts as the cover to the cold frame.

I simply placed the window boxes directly onto the ground, then I place landscape cloth or recycled carpeting down, within the framework, as a weed barrier. Recycled carpeting is easy to obtain, especially that being pulled out due to age or stains. This can be placed nap side down, into the window box. This allows water to drain through the carpeting, but prevents weeds such as crabgrass and other determined weeds from taking over the bed.

Once you have the weed barrier in place, take and fill the box with whatever planting medium you want. To make the best of each cold frame, I encourage you to consider the micro-environment that each type of plants wants. Root crops, for example prefer a sandier soil. By providing them their own "micro-environment" when it comes to soil, you can get more out of your cold frame than simply a longer season of growing.

Once I have added my garden soil, I take and plant my young cold hardy transplants, such as broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts.

For those frames without complete sliding windows, I use old storm window panels, that are simply layed over the frames each evening and set aside during the mornings, on fair weather days. This allows my plants to be protected from night time cold snaps.

Its my hope to grow various plants, especially cool crop plants and "salad" crops in frames that will allow me to push them further into the cold seasons of early spring and late fall.

Currently one frame is planted with pumpkins, which allowed me to plan the pumpkin much earlier than normal.

Another frame holds broccoli.

And a third holds brussel sprouts and leaf lettuce.

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