From growing food to cultivating colorful flowers, gardeners are always looking for new and innovative ways to do the things they love. In their quest for bigger harvests, lower costs, and better gardening, a growing number of people are turning to the cold frame, and this type of household agriculture has a host of important benefits.
A cold frame is simply a box covered with a clear top, and the size of the container can be as large or as small as space permits. And while it may look like a miniature greenhouse, the main distinction is that a cold frame is not heated. Instead, the clear top on the cold frame captures free energy from the sun, nourishing the plants inside it, allowing them to survive their winter dormancy and giving tiny seedlings a fighting chance in harsh conditions.
Cold frame gardening has a host of built-in benefits, but as with any type of gardening, success is far from guaranteed. If you want your own homemade cold frame to produce a bumper crop, here are some smart tips for success.
Use quality potting soil
Start with quality potting soil. Since the cold frame is a closed environment, what you put into it matters. Without access to the surrounding soil, the plants you start are reliant on the nutrients you provide, so start their life right with a top-quality potting mix.
Choose healthy specimens
If you want your plants to grow well in the cold frame, make sure they are as healthy as possible from the start. A cold frame will not make up for substandard stock, so choose your seedlings and transplants with care.
The closed environment of the cold frame will require more frequent watering than plants left on their own, so check the moisture levels frequently and supplement whenever necessary.
be aware of light conditions
The clear top of the cold frame will funnel solar energy to the interior, so it’s important to match the light requirements of the plants inside to the environment. Placing sun-loving plants in a centrally located cold frame and more sensitive ones in the shade can improve yield, enhance survival, and ensure you end up with a bumper crop of vegetables or flowers.
fertilize the cold frame regularly
Your cold frame garden will need more frequent fertilization, and it’s important to feed your plants properly. Knowing the fertilization requirements of each species you plan to use will help a lot, as will monitoring the health of the soil throughout the growing season.
remove faded blooms as quickly as possible
Cold frames are great for growing flowers, but it’s important to maintain the closed system properly. Faded blooms and dropped petals should be removed right away, as doing so will give the remaining blooms room to grow and thrive.
Whether you are growing food for your family, flowers for your centerpiece, or a little bit of both, a cold frame can be your best friend. This simple structure functions much like a greenhouse but costs far less, so you can give your plants a fighting chance without breaking the bank or driving up your expenses. The tips listed above can help you get the most out of your cold frame garden, so you can grow a bumper crop of flowers and vegetables all season long.