Friday, January 13, 2012

Cold Frames

Writing that garden post really did me in. After that I went crazy over the weekend looking through the Territorial Seed Company catalog I got in the mail last week.  Then I went for a walk in the Picardo P-patch and got a bit itchy to start. So I came home and ordered $40 worth of seeds, hung a light over the filing cabinet in my office to start a grow area, and made plans to build a cold frame. Apparently I'm impatient. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that's not a good quality to have if you're a gardener.

It may not look like much yet, but....

I've had this lamp for years, but didn't have a good spot for it at my new apartment.  Now it'll get a timer on the plug so I can give my seeds a full 14-16 hours of light a day. There is a wee piece of plastic that make the hanger, and can move up and down the cord, so I can move the light up as my plants grow (to stay just a couple inches from the tops). And the room is upstairs, so the heat from the basement will rise, and the room has it's own thermostat, so I can keep the soil at 65. I might even wrap the area in tin foil to reflect the light and heat at the plants. I think this might be the perfect solution.

I decided to order from Territorial because I've heard good things about them (non-GMO practices, etc), and they are based out of Oregon, so the seeds should be adapted to my maritime climate.  One hopes.  I probably ordered more seeds than I needed, or will be able to grow.  It might not be $40 worth of veggies, but for this much entertainment over the next year will hopefully be worth it.

There were a handful of cold frames at the p-patch, and all of them were full of perfect, beautiful heads of lettuce or little spinach greens. Don't they know it's January? They were growing happily, and in such crude, easy to make frames, that I had to try my hand at it.  Or the carpenter boyfriend's. Same thing.

After assessing what we had on hand, we headed to The Re-Store in Ballard to buy supplies.  The Re-Store is a great place that sells reclaimed building materials.  We were able to find two single pane windows (at $4 a pane), four hinges, and two handles for under $15. Between the purchase and a sheet of plywood, some 2x1s and a box of screws at home, we were set.

After one communication error resulting in a wrong-sized piece of wood, the hassle of not having a carpenter's square, and rapidly falling sun and temps, we got all 8 pieces cut for the two cold frames (2 fronts, 2 backs, and 4 sides). It got dark before we could put them together, so I drew up the plans to double check our work. There was a mistake, of course.  We failed to account for the angled cut on top to be the size of the window, not the size of the straight cut on bottom. That means the hypotenuse is too long by half to one inch. We even talked about it while making plans!! Ugh.

Click to enlarge. Note: No scale. Seriously.
I think we can make it work during the construction phase, though, when we screw the plywood together with 2x2s. Hopefully we won't have to cut the fronts and backs to make up for it.  This was apparently not as well planned out as I thought. But we'll see! Project will be completed this weekend in the daylight.  It's supposed to snow on Sunday, so I hope we find the time on Saturday.

1 comment:

  1. I'm excited to see what this turns out to be! I'm no good with lingo. Is it a sort of green house?