Monday, March 11, 2013

Cold Frames--A Ladybug Farm Project

The first big project of the year for Ladybug Farm was the construction of a cold frame.  I have been looking at these for years, wishing I had one for cold season vegetables, seed starting, hardening off transplants, and for keeping my herbs growing longer into the colder months.

I finally got around to building one.

My first order of business was to buy glass for the top of the frame.  I didn't want to spend a lot of money, and I had my heart set on double pained glass for the insulating properties.  With these parameters, I opted to check out the Habitat For Humanity ReStore for the first time.  The ReStore is basically a thrift store for building supplies.  I was in a new sort of heaven when I stepped through the doors of the building.

Hubby likes to make fun of me because I love, LOVE going to the hardware store.  I want to buy everything.  All the power tools in our house are mainly for my benefit, not his.  So discovering a thrift store full of cheap hardware was a dream come true.

Anyway, I looked through the window selection and while I found great windows, they were more than I wanted to spend--the cheapest double pained option being about $50.  So I moved onto the doors.  I found a great door that measured 74 x 32, double pained, sturdy, only $25, perfect for my cold frame.  I also found hinges to connect the door to the frame-10 hinges for $5.  I was stoked!

My next stop was the real hardware store to buy the lumber for the actual frame.  I bought 3 - 1x10x10s.  And then I let all of these wonderful selections sit in my garage for the next month until it warmed up enough to work in the garage without freezing my fingers off.

Saturday morning I looked at the thermometer, saw that it was over 40 degrees outside and knew it was time.

I had a rough pattern from a book that I used for my project.  But in general, I approach woodworking much like I do sewing--use the pattern as a guide, but pretty much do it my own way.  Which could be why my projects don't always turn out exactly the way I want them to, but this time I got lucky.

In less than two hours, I had a completed cold frame ready to be moved into the garden--for a total cost of about $45.  I bought a remote thermometer to keep in the box so I can keep an eye on the temperature from in the house.  Once the temperature stays above 40 degrees overnight, I'm going to start planting my cold season vegetables--radishes, spinach, and lettuce.  Yum!

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