Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Okay, actually today we're talking about cold frames, but the name always makes me think of that 80s song "Freeze Frame," of which I know only the shouting of "freeze frame" at the beginning. But I looked it up and found it was performed by the J. Geils Band, and the video is, but of course, on YouTube. Awesome.


Onto the cold frame.

So here is the cold frame that I totally wrecked last fall by placing it underneath one of the black walnut trees to get smashed all to shit by falling walnuts. Because I am way smart. I finally got some new panes of glass cut and A. put them in on Sunday.

All better.

See, the sun comes in through the glass and warms up the box, like a mini-greenhouse. The most important thing to remember about cold frames is that they can quickly get way too warm for your seedlings. Like, even when it's 55 degrees with a cold breeze. That sun can heat them up so fast that by 2 p.m., two eggplant seedlings and all the red cabbage seedlings will have just wilted and fallen over, possibly never to rise again.


Except I totally did. Dammit. I swear it was NOT warm yesterday, but apparently, it was too warm in the cold frame. By the time I noticed and propped the top open with a brick to cool it down a little, I had already cooked some of the seedlings. I don't know if they'll recover.

Oh well. I'll just have to be more vigilant in the future. Anyway, the POINT is that I can now leave the seedlings out at night to harden off more. Although I did bring them in last night, because we had a frost. On May 19. We also had the woodstove going last night and this morning. Winter is being a stubborn bastard this year.

No matter! He has to give up eventually! And when he does, those seedlings are vacating the cold frame and going into the ground. Where I will hopefully manage to not kill anymore off. Amen.


Sara said...

Freeze frame! High-larious! I wish I could watch the video at work because it's pretty funny.

Also, why is it so cold at night? The other night, I was so cold in my apartment and refused to turn the heat on (it shouldn't be necessary; it's May), so I made myself some tea...and then burned my mouth off, couldn't drink the rest of it, and was still cold. C'mon, spring, why bring the allergies but not the heat?

Sweet Bird said...

Ugh - I do not envy you your weather. I talked to my dad yesterday, who lives in Calgary, AB, and apparently it snowed yesterday.

So at least you're doing better than them!

Mayberry Magpie said...

That is why I've never even contemplated using a cold frame. If it doesn't have a thermostat, it's not a good choice for me.

Freeze-frame was my favorite song back in the day. Wonder what happened to ol' J. Geils?

SaintTigerlily said...

I'm a mean mommy. I just shoved my plants outside last weekend and instructed them to toughen up. I may have also lectured them about how when I was a seedling my fellow seedlings and I used to have to germinate in three feet of snow, uphill, both ways.

They are in for YEARS of therapy.

Garden Pheenix said...

I'm feelin ya on the stupid weather. Not impressed over here, at all -.-

Noice freeze frame!

x said...

And I was getting pissed off about the pesky ant situation in our back yard.

mdvelazquez said...

I think I will start to call you Teacher Freeze Frame. :-)

This was an excellent tutorial. I'm new to gardening/planting and had never heard of a cold frame.

FinnyKnits said...

Thank you for bringing that flash from the 80s back for another moment of appreciation.


Daisy said...

I wonder if a cold frame would work here? I could combine it in some way with that old rabbit hutch we no longer use...

Chiot's Run said...

You should get one of those little springs that opens it automatically (I love mine). Or you could get a digital thermometer that you can put in there that had a readout in the house, great way to keep track.