If spring temperatures are still a bit on the cool side, but you’re raring to get into your garden, your in luck: Cold frames can be used to get your garden started before optimal planting weather sets in. Cold frames extend the growing season by warming up soil and air temperatures inside so seeds can germinate earlier. If you’re thinking of using cold frames this year, here are some rules you should follow:

1. Nest the frame into the soil.

Except for the hinged door at the top of the cold frame, which can be vented on warmer days, you don’t want cold air to seep into your cold frame—this would defeat the purpose altogether. Dig the edges into the soil so that you have extra insulation.


2. Any materials go.

You can build your cold frame out of new wood, or you can use reclaimed materials to form the frame. You may even consider using material you already have laying around the farm, such as hay bales or cinder blocks, for the sides. However, make sure to use a clear or translucent material for the top. This could be something as simple as a piece of plastic tightly secured onto a frame, or you could use a reclaimed window.

3. Vent the top on warm days.

On cool days, inside the cold frame will be a great temperature for germinating seeds and growing seedlings, but on warm days, it can get downright hot inside if you don’t prop up the lid and let in some fresh air.

4. Grow cool-weather crops.

Cold frames are great for growing things like broccoli, cabbage and kale that benefit from a little spring chill.

By following these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to getting a jump-start on the growing season.

Looking for more on cold frames? Check out these articles:

  • 7 Cool Hacks For Cold Frames
  • 3 Ways To Start The Spring Garden With Cold Frames
  • Build A Cold Frame From A Storm Door

Hobby Farms publishes the info you need to know to run a small-scale, sustainable farm.

Next Up

One of the many surprises that come with keeping chickens is the appearance of odd eggs in the nest box from time to time.

It's not uncommon for old, unworked fields to fall into disrepair, but it's possible to restore an old hayfield following these basic steps.

Whether it's for milk, fiber, work or companionship, there are plenty of reasons to share your land and life with some goats.

When it's hot and dry, fire on the farm is a real concern. Brush up on fire prevention to keep flames away, both in the barn and outside.

Planning to put up a homestead barn soon? Here are some things to consider before you start to build your next outbuilding.

Old barns are beautiful, but sometimes they have to come down. Here are five ways to use reclaimed barnwood when a structure is demolished.