Let's play a guessing game!
I’m not making an igloo for the neighborhood stray cat. I’m not chucking snowballs at the neighborhood kids. I’m not making AT-AT snowmen. Nope.
I’m checking on my garden…in a foot of snow.
For real, everyone! I have attempted the (nearly) impossible this year — a winter garden in my very own DIY cold frames. Cold frames are basically just boxes with glass or plastic covering the top to reflect the sunlight and warm the box. And that part, worked like a charm. Even in this crazy polar vortex, my cold frames did not go below freezing!
I simply placed my cold frames in a row in the garden, planted seeds, watered, and watched things grow. Some quick differences between regular gardening and cold frame gardening:
- Regular watering – since the ground is covered by glass, you will need to water regularly. However, I did not need to water nearly as often because the sealed box held moisture much longer.
- Temperature – the reflected light causes the box to heat up much faster than surrounding air temperature. Too hot, and you’ll have pre-steamed greens. If the internal temperature of your boxes is above 80, simply open up the hatch to air it out.
- Insulation – The boxes work best to keep the temperature above freezing when the frames are sealed. At the ground level, piling a little mulch insulation around the base of the box helps to seal the snow and cold out. I also left a layer of fall leaves on the surface to help the ground stay warm.
- Sunlight - When snow covers the windows at the top of the cold frame, this adds natural insulation from the worse of the cold. However, plants do need sunlight, so if snow covers the box for more than a week, I do brush off the snow to let a little light it.