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If you live in a region with cold winters, you probably spent some cold days and nights dreaming of gardening or planning out next seasons garden plot. Rest assured you can still grow fresh lettuce, spinach, radishes, onions and more if you build a Cold Frame for your winter garden.

Cold Frame gardens are very easy to build and even better can be built with 100% recycled materials. All you need is an old window sash or aluminum, glass door frame. You can use fiberglass, polyethylene or other transparent material is glass is not readily available. Build a frame according to the dimensions of the window sash or other material you decided to recycle and use. Ideal dimensions would be approximately 18 inches at the back and 12 at the front to provide a good angle facing the sun and rain/snow drain off.

There are two ways to setup your cold frame garden: above ground or partially below ground. Insulating factors will be much better if the Cold Frame is partially below ground. Like Solar Panels, Cold Frame bins should face south for maximum sunlight exposure and have at least a 10 percent angle to make the most of the limited sunlight in northern regions.

If the weather gets extremely cold, say low twenties, it would be best to cover the Cold Frame in burlap or moving blankets for protection. You can also add a heating cable, the same kind you wrap around water pipes to keep them from freezing. Warm weather days are just as crucial to keeping your garden in top shape. You will have to monitor and open the top glass hatch to allow proper ventilation. Don't forget to water ;o)

The best veggies to grow are lettuce, radishes, chard and green onions. You can also try small carrots and other greens. What you can grow in your Cold Frame will depend on your local weather. We will build and chronicle the success of 2 Cold Frame plantations over the fall and winter to see what we can grow. Hopefully we can harvest enough for a nice fresh winter salad!

Keep it Green!

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