Top Five Tips for Cold Frame Gardening
The Carnival Gardens Common Sense Cold Frame comes complete with several features that enhance your overall gardening experience and make it one of your favorite tools.
Nevertheless, we recognize several other steps that, when used in conjunction with a cold frame, can only help your planting plans succeed.
Here are five key tips to ensuring a triumphant experience with your cold frame this growing season.
1. Organic matter – your worst enemy? Mulch and compost are normally considered to be a gardener’s better-than-perfect best friend. Applying such sources of organic matter (including manure) liberally throughout a patch of plants seems part and parcel of proper nourishment. In the warm environment of a cold frame, however, the otherwise latent fungi in such material, including damping off, mushroom with ease and can kill plants meant to be protected. Gardens with cold frames should opt for a more modest dose of organic matter as a good rule of green thumb. Liquid plant food, like seaweed or fish products, is always welcome to treat any soil deficiencies.
2. Water from within. Cold frame watering can prove tedious from time to time. It can occasionally involve disrupting the position of the cold frame and jostling the plants within. To stave off such disruption, consider integrating an irrigation setup at the same that that you assemble the cold frame to begin with. Snake an hose designed for irrigation that you’ve pierced with holes through the area to be covered by the cold frame. Seal off one end of the hose with a cap, and connect the other end to a garden hose hooked up to a faucet. Turn on the faucet and you water your cold frame plantings in one fell swoop. Take care not to inundate the plants, which could foster conditions for disease.
3. Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate. Do you know the number one detriment that plants in cold frames must avoid in order to thrive? It’s overheating, a problem to which cold frames can easily succumb unless gardeners take care to ventilate the setup. Although additional heat in the cold frame admittedly does foster germination for many seeds, it can nevertheless vex seedlings once sprouted. For the good of your plants, always choose to ventilate, even when you believe that the weather doesn’t pose a particular threat on a given day. Even during a chill, the slight blast of cold your plants will face won’t do them in the way a heat wave could.
(For your information, Carnival Gardens’ cold frame already accomplishes this tip for you; its self-opening mechanism ensures that the cold frame vents on its own when outside temperatures exceed 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and closes when the cold weather returns.)
4. Practice French intensive gardening. Although cold frames grant gardeners the freedom to plant as they please despite the weather or season, the small amount of space they occupy can prove restrictive to those who enjoy massive crops. But it doesn’t have to. French intensive gardening in a cold frame can prompt abundant harvests with a minimum of room. It all begins with the creation of a two-foot-deep aerated raised bed that includes ample amounts of humus and vermiculite. This initial process is arguably the most time-consuming and frustrating; it may indeed take up to a year to perfectly prime the plot. Once established, however, such a gardening style is remarkably self-sufficient, and when supported by a cold frame’s warmth, the crops produced can be unprecedentedly prolific.
5. Practice crop rotation, too. Along with French intensive gardening, crop rotation is equally key to efficient success with a cold frame. Crop rotation entails rearing diverse plants whose times of harvest differ by at least one growing season. Practicing this can actually energize the soil, refueling it with nitrogen and neutralizing the effects of disease-causing microorganisms and pests. Unlike French intensive gardening, crop rotation is relatively simple to executive on even the first day of planting with a cold frame. Begin by planting cold weather crops such as coriander, radishes, and other greens. Once these have reached the harvesting stage, you can then lay seeds for tomatoes and peppers, energy-guzzling crops that grow exclusively in warm weather