Monday, February 25, 2008


I thought I would share my coldframe with you all. It is about to get LOTS of use. I built this coldframe about four years ago and use it primarily for hardening off seedlings. It works very well because the seedlings are sheltered from the high winds we get in the spring around here, and I can keep the rain off of the flats by closing the windows (when all windows are intact).

My sister in Maine would love a hotbed. A hotbed is basically the same as a coldframe but it has a source of heat, such as a heating cable run through the soil. I have also read that if you place a few inches of manure in the soil of a coldframe, the manure will decay and will also heat a coldframe. It has been my intent to try this method of hotbed gardening. But only for growing lettuce or other cool season crops, and here in Tennessee we probably don't need the added heat for them to grow well in a coldframe. Due to time constraints, I have not attempted growing anything in this coldframe in the soil, though it would surely work and I will try this year! Best intentions!

Coldframes like this are easy and inexpensive to build. I purchased the windows at a flea market or yard sale for a few bucks. Decided on the length I wanted my coldframe, keeping in mind the standard lengths pressure treated wood is sold in. I then measured the window width to ensure the length would work.

I used 2 x 10s for the back board and side boards, and a 2 x 8 for the front board. I wanted it slanted so as to maximize the sun's rays. My coldframe is oriented east, which works perfectly. It is a simple matter to shade the western sun when it gets too hot, as it often does in the spring around here. I assembled my box and cut the sides to accommodate the tilt; attached the windows with hinges and walah! Instant coldframe.

Over the years I have lost a few panes of glass as you can see. These two were taken out by an errant baseball and by an errant PVC part from the nearby PVC arbor. I have extra panes from some old windows so I just attach new glass with caulk and it is repaired. No big deal. The problem is cleaning up all the glass.

in the garden....


  1. Yet, another great way to recycle old items!

  2. good morning skeeter.. and happy birthday to dragon!

    hey all, it is not too late to send me some pictures with children. i have most of my commenters taken care of, dawn with you have a few? mom..status of joanne with the grandbaby?

  3. I don't have any, mostly taking pics of the house, off to food shop, like this post, much needed up here to harden seedlings.

  4. A Carolina Wren bird is building a nest on our front porch!
    Come on Spring...

  5. Hi Tina, what a great post. I once tried an old window over a patch of dirt when I was a kid. The neighbor who was an awesome gardener was shocked to see my peas and beans taller than his, lol. I started them while we still had snow but covered with the glass pane --it really worked --I was so impressed. I did tell him how my plants got so tall --afterwards:) This was up in PA :) Very nice today --have to get the boy outside. First we did our housework --okay he didn't but I did:) Later!

  6. Tina,

    Like the post...

    I kept some old windows from friends construction and from when we replaced our picture window with patio doors...big plans to build a green house. But big plans cost big money so the windows went to another home somewhere...I still think of them....and the really nice green house they could have made, if only I was more crafty;-)


  7. Just returned from a trip to town and noticed the most beautiful blossoms on some trees in front of a business! These always bloom before any other trees and I have no idea what they are. They are a deep pink color and just a wonderful sight to see this time of year. The dandelions I saw all over the place were not a nice sight to my eyes…

    It is a beautiful day and I had the car windows open while driving! Hard to believe it will fall below freezing a night or two this week... arggggg...

    Need to go try out the potting shelf now…. Need to get those seeds started…

  8. dawn with peaches, no pictures of the kiddos? not even with a houseplant? it is fine. maybe later. not like the blog is going anywhere (at least not that i'm aware of :)

    skeeter, i sure spring is there! it is pretty much here too but i always bank on the peepers. when they start peeping i know for sure it has arrived. they haven't yet.

    i think you may have seen saucer magnolia. aka magnolia soulangiana. did the flowers look like tulips-upright and pink to magenta? that is a beautiful tree. i hope no late frost comes and nips the buds like commonly happens up here. i do NOT have one of those trees but always admire them in town. i will probably post the shed tomorrow. looks nice and like anonymous said-you are very busy and crafty.

    anonymous, it has finally warmed up. of course i was out and about. i am ready to get in the garden though. got some moving of shrubs to do-uurrrr! have fun outside.

    gail, gotta hold unto those windows! there are so many uses for them! i paint pictures like flags on mine for decorations in the garden. they are quite lovely. i have a whole collections. someday maybe i will have a permanent greenhouse. for now, the little plastic one has held up excellently-even with the wind storms. can't beat it!

  9. That will be the last part of the raised beds I do. I have a bunch of windows from my parents house when they replaced their windows. I had thoughts of a greenhouse but I'm not ready to build one just yet. I'll prop the windows over the raised beds in a roof-top shape in some fashion, most likely using the extra wood I have on hand. Hopefully I can get the beds done soon. Every time the weather is nice like today I don't have anyone to watch the girls. Maybe I'll hit it tonight if it's still nice when my wife gets home.

  10. Well Tina if you sister wants one she has the right hubby for it. Now that they have finished the house she should get it. You hear me son-in-law!

    Skeeter, Tina already said Magnolia and that was my first thought as they are usually the one of the first to bloom here also, after the Forsythia. I love them and they smell so good.

  11. I forgot but did you get the pic of Josh watering my plants. Terri-Lynn Sent it this morning. I asked Joanne and she does not have any and i can't find any either.

  12. We are seeing the magnolia also and at first I thought they were what we call Tulip Poplars. But the trees I am seeing have tiny blossoms like a cherry tree. I will try to get to town and snap a picture of them but afraid the blossoms will fall with the projected rain tomorrow....

  13. hey guys, gardening day today. what a great day! got lots of work done-planted two more eleagnus and replanted a lilac and weigela i had to move to plant the eleagnus. sigh. needed evergreens there. it was gorgeous today.

    dave, judging by your raised beds, your coldframe will be awesome. especially with all the windows. can't wait to see it. i use mine alot to harden off seeds and hold cuttings. it is convenient.

    hey mom, yes, i got the pics. i have selected one for the post. i might do it tomorrow since joanne doesn't have any. can't imagine why not. she can just send me a digital of her grandbaby if she wants.

    i like that windchime jack of all trades made. copper is very expensive and it is a good use for leftover copper. do you know down here in clarksville folks are STEALING it right out of houses and off a/c? now everyone who sells copper has to have id's and all kinds of stuff so the police can track the copper. in iraq it was the same way. whole buildings ripped up for the copper and metal. windows busted due to concussions of blasts. eery.

    mom, i didn't know the magnolias smell. i don't usually smell them. i'll make a point of it this spring.

    skeeter, they call this type of magnolia a tulip tree. but the tulip poplar is very tall, it is also our state tree. you rarely can see those flowers because they are so high up. sounds like it might be cherries or maybe redbuds? snap a picture and we'll figure it out. but it can only mean spring is there!

  14. They are doing the same up here, as far as the copper, expensive within the last couple years, surprised my has not been ransacked. We use it as extra bill that may come up or for updated tools. Heating companies have had coils stolen right out of their fenced in yard!

  15. Copper is being stolen here too. I'm glad my ac unit is in backyard fenced in.
    I was given a magnolia that isn't supposed to get bigger than a large shrub. It's supposed to have pink blooms in Spring before leaves appear. It has nothing on it--no blooms or leaves. The leaves fell off when it got real cold. It is still in the big black tub as I didn't know where I wanted to put it. I need to put dwarf burning bush & the magnolia in ground. Gotta figure out how to get the hole dug. haha

  16. Yes every place is having trouble with copper and metals being stolen for the price.

    Skeeter is it Flowering Crab? They also are early bloomers.

  17. Hi Tina, we did spend a good part of today outside. And, I sawed down another dead white pine:( Oh well, this one might be a project for me. I hope my idea can pan out --I'd like to make a small bench with it --can't say if this will work but I saw a cool bench made out of a tree at Bass Pro Shops and I "think" I want to try making a bench with this tree. If it works you know I'll tell you --if not well then that wood will be taking a trip to the firewood pile, hahahah. I cleaned off all the branches and now it looks like a big piece of wood, hahah okay well a big tree that has been skimmed of it's branches. Little man helped with a small dull hacksaw --it was the only way I could keep him in the same part of the yard as me --he thought he was really helping so it was good for him and me:) Hope that cool icy weather misses us tomorrow --I was liking today ALOT. Hi Skeeter, Jean, Nina, Lola and Dawn with peaches --oh yes I do worry about the copper in this area too --and the converters on the trucks -people reported they were cutting them off too?? I have no idea what they are made of but apparently it has some resell value in this area. I read about it in the paper a few weeks back. Nighty-night

  18. Pine has sap in it. Can't burn it in fireplace & it will continue to be sticky. Not good to sit on. Even when the needles fall sometimes the end that was attached will be sticky. Needles are good for mulching acid loving plants. Glad you got your tree down. Don't like them falling on something I don't want messed up.

  19. Thanks Lola --so this won't make good firewood --and here I was thinking "this sure would smell good" hahaha. I still might attempt a bench --could always use it to sit plants on:)

  20. boy, i didn't know it was a national problem with the copper. crazy isn't it how people want to steal rather than work? and steal from folks who work hard.

  21. Anonymous I think you could use the pine for a seat if you seal it with polyethylene (probably not spelled right) or some type of sealer. Also people do burn pine but it is a soft wood so burns faster. When I had a Franklin Fireplace I would never fill it with the soft woods but a piece or two for starting a fire is good as it will start better.

  22. The tree we just dropped into the yard was pine and we will not burn pine in our house either. But we do burn it in the outside fire-pit! We have a brush fire-pit and a small fire-pit by the patio for small camp type fires to take the chill off on cool nights in the spring and fall...

    Yep, stealing the copper down here also. Crooks do spend a lot of time on their next heist, if only they would use that mind to think of decent honest work!

    I think the paper mills here prefer pine to other woods...

  23. Thanks Jean --we could always burn it out back when we BBQ. I envisioned it smelling so delicious, hahaha sweet smell of pine. It was weird this one had little to no sap? It was hit last summer with the drought so maybe it dried out??

  24. That would be my guess, I cut a spruce about 10'' only to find it had boring ants in the center of it, but the outer was dry.
    BTW, I can picture your boys giving the royal treatment to the fella that comes a'calling for their princess sister. Lucky girl.

  25. Pine does smell good anonymous. Maine is "The Pine Tree State". Our pine trees are different then the ones you guys have. They do not get as tall but they are rounder, very bushy and have branches clear to the botton of em.
    Several years ago I had a spot in the woods that I cut a path to the middle of the woods and I cut all the lower branches off the trees so I could drive the golf cart in.
    Had a nice area in there and I would just sit and enjoy it all, the peace and quiet and the smell. When I felt like working I would rake pine needles for the garden. I would put the needles in big buckets and put the full buckets on the back of the golf cart and drive em out. I had a big bucket that I would just leave in there with a radio and my hatchet in it to keep them out of the weather and not have to cart them back and forth. I loved it. I'd even go out in the middle of the night as I had lights on the golf cart. I took a friend out there in the middle of the night.
    She was so funny....scared to death as she thought a bear was gonna get her.

  26. Pine does smell real good when it's burning. The small pieces we used was called "fat-liter" or "rich Pine" in N.C. to start the fire. We used it in fire pit in yard in N.C. If burnt in house the "tar" in the pine will coat chimney & could cause fire. Thus reason for not using in house.
    I agree with Jean, if you seal it real good you could use for bench for sitting or just sit flowers on.

    Paper mills do process pine more as they get the cellulose & other things out of the pine. Jessup Ga. has a big mill. That's where a lot of timber is carried to from here. Most pine for harvest here is the "Lob-lolly Pine". Grows pretty fast so have shorter time for harvest.

    Jean, loooove your quiet place. Just my cup of tea.

    Some thieves would rather steel that eat. A lot have a drug problem. Just sorry, situation getting worse.

  27. Oh forgot to ask, Tina what is the black pole in you bed.

  28. you guys are doing such a good job talking amongst yourselves, i am only going to answer the question directed to me.

    lola, that is one side of the huge PVC arbor i have as an entrance to the veggie garden. it looks kind of black and is hard to see it in context in the photo, but that is what it is. do you see the little 4x4s just past the coldframe? that is what the pvc is slipped over.