Friday, 15 November 2013

The Coldframe is put into action

As I write this we still have not had any frost, but it surely can't be more than a few days before we do. Last Sunday we had bright sunshine and blue sky - a great gardening day - so I took the opportunity to get the coldframe out of the garage and put it in the usual place round in the back garden, next to the wheelie bins...

This coldframe is one of the things I got last year with my prize money when I won the Achica Blog Award. It is made of twin-wall polycarbonate panels with wooden frames. It is incredibly light and I am amazed that it managed to survive all of last Winter without being blown away!

 A coldframe like this is a useful asset because it provides plants with shelter from frost and wind, but be aware that it doesn't provide any warmth! In the Spring it is also useful for protecting young seedlings during the "hardening-off" process whereby you gradually accustom young plants to outdoor conditions. During the Winter I keep some of my smaller potted plants in the coldframe. On Sunday I trimmed and tidied all the lucky "inmates" before putting them into their new home:

In there are pots of Mint, Thyme, Chives and Winter Savory, along with several Aquilegias. A point to note with coldframes generally is that you must ensure that the glass or polycarbonate panels are kept clean in order to allow the plants inside the frame to get as much lght as possible, so it may be a good idea to give the whole thing a good wash before putting any plants inside it.

It is all too easy to just close up the coldframe and forget it, but remember that the plants inside will still need watering occasionally. It's always advisable to open the coldframe for a short while now and then if you get any sunny days, because a bit of ventilation will help to prevent the growth of mould and fungal diseases.

P.S. in between writing this and publishing it, we did get our first frost of the year, on Wednesday morning. Looks like it was a one-off this time though, and we're back to wind and rain again for a few more days.


  1. Replies
    1. Lucy; the coldframe is not really blue. I think it just looks blue in my photos, mainly because of the reflections from the nearby huge blue wheelie bin! (Either that or my poor photography...)

  2. We need a new cold frame as our top slides back which isn't ideal as you can;t let air in without letting rain fill up the trays! I have heard of people popping night lights in their cold frames to ward of mild frosts but it isn't something you can do with polycarbonate is it?

  3. For me light would be ideal as it could carry it. But then again I've not no sunny spot in the garden except in the circle garden and that can't be use for anything. The snow comes off the solar panels really fast during the winter. It even cracked the tempered glass table we had in our back yard. So nothing goes there.

  4. I love your cold frame! Maybe someday my husband will make me one, too!


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