How to build a coldframe.

A recent comment asking for dimensions of the coldframe that Rob and I (OK, Rob) built for our garden prompted me to dig up the plans we used to construct it two seasons ago.

The coldframe measures 60 inches by 39 inches; at the front, it is 12 inches high and at the back it’s 24 inches. This arrangement allows for maximum sun exposure (the lower front wall gives more sun to the back). It has two hinged, plexiglas-paneled lids that can be propped open to allow air and moisture on warm days, and closed on cooler nights. We painted the exterior a nice garden-y green and the interior a bright white to reflect sunlight. And we oriented it in the garden for maximum springtime sun exposure; it “faces” south.

Since the coldframe takes up a good one-third of my garden space, I’ve learned to plant it strategically. Our garden space is small-ish (8 feet by 16 feet), so spring crops have to come out to accommodate summer vegetables. In our case, I’ll harvest spring lettuce completely so that I have room to plant 5 rows of green and yellow bush beans. The lettuce I planted this weekend will grow in the middle of the garden and be the first to harvest; I’ll plant succession crops closer to the fence where they can mature later and not get in the way of summer planting.

We used a coldframe plan from Garden Gate magazine (download the PDF here) to build our structure and have been quite pleased with it. It was an easy all-weekend project for two people.

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