A cold frame is a simple structure that utilizes solar energy and insulation to create a microclimate within your garden. Here are some ways to use a cold frame in your garden.
- Overwintering dormant plants. If you love to use tender or tropical plants in your garden but don’t know what to do with them come fall, a cold frame provides a simple solution.
- Giving seedlings an early start. Whether you are starting seeds in flats or sowing them directly into the soil, a portable cold frame provides the opportunity to get your plants going a few weeks early, and it eliminates the transplanting shock that many plants face because they will be better acclimated from the outset.
- Hardening off young seedlings. When plants are moved from a warm, sheltered location—such as a greenhouse or indoors—into the garden, they must be gradually acclimated to fluctuations in temperature, sunlight, moisture, and exposure.
- Extending the season past frost. If you dread the coming of the first fall frost, you can extend your growing season with a plastic hoop tunnel. While not a typical cold frame, a hoop tunnel provides the same benefits by insulating the plants inside and keeping frost at bay.