As we harvest the last of summer’s herbs and vegetables, our thoughts typically turn to next year’s crop. This year however, we decided to continue our home-grown efforts beyond the spring and summer growing season. With a little repurposing and a couple of hours of work, we made a cold frame to grow cold weather crops. As the summer went along, we kept our eyes on the curbs of side streets in our area. With some luck and persistence, we found some old windows discarded to be replaced with new ones. As you’ll see, they work wonderfully for the top of our cold frame. Our next material we scavenged from ourselves. 2×8 pieces of wood previously used for a raised garden bed that just didn’t fit with our current garden landscaping. Lastly, we splurged $5 at our local hardware store to buy some smaller utility hinges. Put it all together using screws, a screw driver, a drill, and a saw. The construction was so simple, we made sure to take pictures to share the process with you.
|(2) Windows||Curbside Repurposing (free!)|
|(2) – 2”x8”x12’ & (1) – 2”x8”x8’ Pieces of Lumber||$10 – $15 (Repurposed raised garden bed)|
|(4) Hinges (We used ½“ utility hinges)||$5 Make sure they’re sturdy and weather resistant|
|Box of Screws||$5 (We used what we had)|
- Drill & Drill Bits to Suit
- Screw Driver
- Saw (Whatever type gets the job done, we used a handheld circular saw)
- Measuring Tape
Cut the Lumber
- Measure the width of both windows side by side.
- Cut three pieces of wood the length you measured.
- Place one of the pieces you cut 2” side down and brace it or (preferably) have somebody else hold it in place.
- Prop the top of one of the windows on the board and mark the angle and length on boards you’ll use for the angled sides. Repeat this for the opposite side.
- Cut the angled sides, and use the non-angled bottom as a guide for cutting the other side pieces.
Assemble the Frame
- You’ll want to pre-drill holes for your screws using a bit slightly smaller than the screw’s center.
- Secure the corners together with screws in the pre-drilled holes.
- Using the scraps from your sawing, add braces to corners and generally anywhere that needs bracing.
- At this point, you’ll want to place the windows on your frame to ensure everything lines up right, and also to pre-drill the holes for attaching the hinges. I’d recommend not attaching the windows until the frame has been placed where it will ultimately be to avoid breaking them in transport.
- Place the frame in the location of your choosing. South facing usually works best, but you’ll need to work with your landscape and take into consideration the shade requirements of the plants you’ll be growing.
- You may need to do some digging to make it level, if you so choose.
- Attach the windows using the hinges and pre-drilled holes.
- Add soil, water & seeds!
Optional Bells and Whistles
If you’re so inclined, you might add some of the following to take your project further:
- Latches to further protect your garden from critters.
- Dowels, or the like, to prop up the windows giving your garden some fresh air on a nice day.
- Fresh coat of paint. Exterior only! You wouldn’t want paint in your food would you?
There are many varieties of cold weather crops. Ask at your local garden center for varieties that work well in your area, as well as care information. We’re certainly excited to have this! We hope you’ll build your own and share your experience with us!