Cold Frame Gardening

Uploaded by groworganic on 07.09.2012

Hi, I'm Trisha an organic gardener
cold frames and hotbeds are easy to build structures that can help you
extend your season
or give your plants
a jumpstart
cold frames and hotbeds are basically the same structure the only difference is
that one is heated only by the sun
and the hot beds have an alternative heat source
these are easy structures to build or there are kits available like this dual
cold frame
they consist of a sash made of glass
old windows can work very well
or plastic polycarbonate and a support frame made of wood, brick or cement block
the front should be at least one foot tall
and the back, taller
with about a one inch rise for every foot of frame
cold frames and hotbeds should be positioned with a full southern or
south eastern exposure
face the front
either southeast or directly south
a wind break to the north or northwest is recommended. a straw bale, a building
even an evergreen hedge row will make a great wind break
a wind break should not shade your frame
mobile cold frames like this one are great for over wintering your
half-hearty perennials
or they can be positioned a few inches in the ground for better
and for more permanent structure
a hotbed requires a little bit more preparation you're gonna need some hardware cloth
some sand,
a heating cable and some burlap
for and electrically heated hotbed dig down six inches if the soil is not well
drained dig down twelve inches and add a layer of gravel
lay some burlap down either directly over the ground or over the gravel
add about a four inch layer of sand
this heating cable with a thermostat will keep your hotbed warm all winter long
so you can grow vegetables throughout the winter
you can even start your root cuttings or you can start your spring vegetable garden
the thermostat activates at temperatures below seventy four degrees
and it produces three and a half watts of heat per linear foot
for warmer climates you may only need ten watts of heat per square foot
if that's the case space the cable four inches apart
in colder areas change your spacing to three inches apart for fourteen watts per
square foot
it's important to lay your cable on an evenly graded bed and not allow the
cable to cross itself
once you've laid your cable down add another two to three inches of sand
just lay your hardware cloth over the sand
build or place your cold frame on top
now add four to six inches of good soil on top and your hotbed is ready to
if you have a cold frame and not a hotbed you can insulate with a burlap
bag filled with leaves or are you can add heat with a light bulb
temperature control is crucial
too much heat is just as bad as too much cold
a temperature actuated vent opener like this
isn't wonderful accessory to automatically control temperature
sashes that should be raised opposite the prevailing wind to prevent your seedlings from
being burned by the wind
water your plants early in the morning
so that in the evening when the sashes are closed the foliage is dry
grow food all year long in a cold frame or hotbed and grow organic for life