Cold frames

By Larry Dowell

“The youth gets together his materials to build a palace and the middle aged man concludes to build a woodshed with them.”

During the doldrums of February, the gardener gets the urge to do something to hurry spring along. The ground is too wet to work, it is too early to stir around the perennials and even the pruning is all done. The Flower and Garden Show was an inspiration. My wife wanted some onions and we purchased the seed, which was what was available in the variety she wanted. I have never raised onions from seed, but I thought a Master Gardener should be able to.

I washed and sterilized the seeding trays, filled them with potting soil, planted the seeds and water well. I placed domes over them and set them in the (unused) downstairs shower to germinate. After they poked their heads up, I set the trays outside. I needed a sold frame.

I had 4-feet by 4-feet sheet of plywood discarded from another project (not a palace) that would work. I sawed off nine inches for the front and 15 inch for the back. The remaining 2 feet was cut diagonally to make two pieces that were 9 inches on one end and 15 inches on the other side. The pieces were fastened at the corner. Some 1-inch by 2-inch material was sawed into 4 foot lengths and joined at the corners to make the top and this was covered with plastic. I had my cold frame. 

I found a sunny south-facing location, and put down some plastic, placed the frame and put straw in bottom for insulation. I had found spring even on a cold February day.

from the Master Gardener's Notebook, Marshfield Mail