Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cold frame from salvaged windows and lumber

The soon-to-be garden is still quite saturated with water so removing the sod is not feasible yet.  We've got loads of greens and peas to plant and the stress was mounting, mostly for Jennifer.  Steve said: "well, why don't we plant them elsewhere?"  The man of clarity.  We've wanted to build a cold frame for quite some time and figured this would solve our seed planting issue too so we got to work.

First, we gathered the extra windows we had around the property.  (All left from some prior owner.)

And came up with a design....

We measured the full length and width of our windows and found salvaged boards long enough to cut our needed sizes from.

We framed the base first, joining the boards with screws...

Cutting the angle came next.  I want to note we built this as we went.  That's Steve's preferred method for building and it's great!  The cold frame structure completely evolved as we went along.  To determine the angle, we held the window at the angle we wanted, found a wide enough board and drew a line on the board from bottom corner to top corner.  Amazingly, it provided us with two right sized pieces - one for each end.

We made the angled boards for the interior supports in the same way.  We then thought about window attaching.  Steve recalled a box of hinges he saved from removing an old storage bin at the front of our chicken coop so we put those to use.

6 hinges - exactly what we needed for this cold frame!  A few were bent so we pounded them back into shape.  
Next, we attached the windows!

Check out those hinges!

We cleaned the glass so the plants can get maximum sunlight...

Then, we moved the cold frame to the south side of our house and prepared the soil...

We're pretty excited about this!  Imagine Jennifer squealing.  :)

Ready for some compost and then seeds!

Ta-dah!  If you look closely, you can even see the little wire pulls Steve installed to serve as handles.
The handle on the side of the box was left here by a prior owner.

We spent not one dime on this cold frame, but will harvest hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of greens no doubt.  Pretty cool. 


  1. Hi J&S...My-my-my do you guys ever bring back memories...I love it!!!
    I so did all this stuff!!
    Good going...using what is available.. "ingenuity is the mother of invention"
    Hope that garden spot dries you own a wet-dry shop vac. hahahaha!!!

  2. "Pretty cool"? How about Way Freakin' Cool! You guys are geniuses--and handy, clever, and thrifty to boot! I've been thinking about one of these for 3 years and you Just Did It. You'll be eating nutritious greens in no time. Yay!

  3. Amazing!! It's so awesome to be handy and have a handy partner around. What you can accomplish when you put your mind to it! You two should be feeling pretty good about your skills with all you've done there. I've been scoping out some windows that show up in a dumpster at a contractor's place here...we've got a coop to build ourselves. That's fabulous, you're gonna be enjoying greens in not time flat!! ~Vonnie, NH

  4. That is more than "pretty cool!" The ground here is still too wet too. I have peas started and ready to go in the ground my seed potatoes are sprouting. I just need a few dry days for the soil to dry out a bit.

  5. I am soooooooooooo impressed with this project.


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