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Cold Frames

Friday, October 5, 2018 - 2:00am

Host: Gary Bachman, Ornamental Horticulture Specialist

Transcription:

We are finally enjoying cooler temperatures and vegetable growers want to extent the season today on Southern Gardening.

Southern Gardening with Gary Bachman is produced by the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Cold frames are great tools for extending the growing season, especially for veggies grown in containers. They act as a mini green house and protect your plants like a large cloche. You can go high tech with insulated walls, sink the foundation into the soil, add heating cables for the floor, and double pane top can act as a mini greenhouse. Used, recycled windows are a good choice for the cold frame top. Or try using a clear plastic window well cover and could accommodate larger plants.

You might like a little flexibility and not want a permanent cold frame. Portable cold frames can be built very easily using hay bales for the sides and a pane of glass for the top is a very low tech version. Commercial versions of cold frames are also available. If you decide to use a cold frame, consider these tips to get the most benefit:

Orient the cold frame to an east to west arrangement and make the south side lower. This will absorb more solar energy. Paint the inside surface white to reflect the sunlight back onto your plants. You’ll need to vent the cold frame. Heat will build up quickly during the day. The highest temperature shouldn’t go over 80 degrees. Venting will also reduce dampness and keep foliar diseases at bay. There are thermostatically controlled vents as well as bimetal automatic hinges. These are great if you work and aren’t there to open and close the cold frame. And be sure to check for air leaks so the precious warm air doesn’t escape at night.

I am horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

Southern Gardening with Gary Bachman is produced by the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

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