Growing undercover can be expensive. Whilst greenhouses are a fantastic solution to extending your growing season and protecting your blooms from harsh weather conditions, cold frames are a great, more economically friendly solution to growing undercover. Not to mention space saving.
Cold frames are a perfect starting point for any beginner. You can almost ‘try before you buy’ when purchasing a cold frame to give you an idea of how it feels to grow undercover throughout the year before taking the plunge and investing in a greenhouse.
What are the benefits of a cold frame?
- Economically friendly
- Space saving
- Easy to make
- A great space to sow seeds through all weather conditions
- Extend your growing season
- Keeps your crops away from frost
- Protects crops from other harsh weather conditions, particularly if they are young plants that need a good fighting chance to thrive in your garden
Where do I put my cold frame?
The best position for your cold frame in any garden is in a south facing position, with good protection from the wind and great drainage. A huge problem for plants when growing is lack of water drainage so this is a key consideration. It is highly beneficial for the rear end of a cold frame to be slightly higher up than the front of the frame, although this is not essential it’s beneficial from a drainage perspective.
How do I use my cold frame?
You will need to keep an eye on the ventilation of your cold frame. Whilst they’re fantastic for preserving your plants against harsh weather, you will still need to ventilate. One item found useful when owning and looking after a cold frame is an automatic vent controller, this will automatically open and close your cold frame when the temperature starts to rise and fall. Be sure to keep the lid open on a very hot, sunny day, whilst trapping the heat inside ready for a cooler night.
If you’re in need of more heat over the cooler months, you can use electric heating cables underneath or a layer of mulch, compost, or manure under the topsoil if you prefer a non-electrical solution to providing more heat for your plants. Remember, the cooler the conditions, the more slowly your plants will grow, and vice versa.
Growing undercover has never been easier if you follow our guide on how to do this. The key is to not lose enjoyment over it and keep it simple. Over complicating things can take away the enjoyment and add unnecessary stress to your gardening journey. After all, using a cold frame is supposed to eliminate the worries of growing throughout the cooler seasons, providing you with an extended growing season and added protection for your young blooms.