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My Homemade Cold Frame and Seedlings


By peter


My little strip of mud has been barren the whole winter and with nothing to do in the garden I occupied myself by building a cold frame. I actually occupied my dad too as I’m not very good with DIY – plus he has a garage full of tools while mine is full of junk.

It took the best part of a day to make in total and I’m really quite chuffed with the end result. It was finished just in time for the blizzards and spent that week in my junk-filled garage while the wood treatment dried out.

My homemade cold frame

The cold frame was quite a timely creation as I’ve now got some of my veg and herb seedlings outside permanently. I haven’t got enough faith in it yet to house everything so I’m running a little experiment with some in the cold frame and some on my window sills.

I have more things on experiment than I should at this time as last month (15th to be precise) I got all excited about the growing season ahead and planted a batch of seeds in my first ever seed trays – some a lot earlier than recommended.

I bought the type of tray with individual cups as I like things ordered; two seeds in each cup – except for some of the really very small seeds which got thrown in by the pinch-full. However, this weekend the individual pots proved an annoyance as I tried to re-pot the plants that had germinated and were growing quite well.

After trying to squeeze, poke, tap and pull the plugs out from their cases I resorted to using a teaspoon (the same one I got told off for bending last week while fixing a bike puncture). I might try the open plan trays next time, although it was fiddly work separating the roots of just two seedlings never mind a whole trays worth.

Potting on with a teaspoon

I’ve only put one seed tray in the cold frame but it’s like Noah’s Ark. Each plant type has two segments and each segment contains two seeds making four seeds of everything I’m growing. Inside on my window sills, each plant has a dedicated row of eight segments – sixteen seeds each for those not doing sums as they read :o)

So what am I growing? Well so far I have:
Alpine strawberry ‘mignonette’
Alipne strawberry ‘golden alexandra’
Kale ‘red russian’
Tomato ‘tamina’
Onion ‘ailsa craig’
Sweet Basil

I’ve more plants than will fit in my little strip of mud but I’ll worry about that when it’s a problem. I read yesterday that dill doesn’t like being transplanted – just another trivial concern along with some of the seeds being sown two months earlier than the packet recommended. For now I’m just excited about growing things again after the winter.

It might surprise some of you to read I did have a minor foray in to growing some flowers last autumn and now have a small (but perfectly formed) patch of crocuses growing at the far end of my lawn :o)

My crocus patch

Oh, and one last thing – the Acer I bought last autumn is showing some beautifully deep red shoots.

My acer in the morning sun

More blog posts by peter

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Oh well done Peter..the old boys do have their uses dont they ! Good luck withall your plantings...and the crocuses are looking good ! The acer looks promising !

24 Mar, 2009


When I moved here the previous owner had left a drawer full of old cutlery. It came in handy for the garden.
Good luck with your sewings. Your cold frame is great. I hope to grow more herbs this year myself.

25 Mar, 2009


Nice frame, Peter, hope you grow some nice veggies in it. Your Acer is well ahead of ours - not thinking of opening up yet.

25 Mar, 2009


The cold frame looks great, It should come in very handy. I know exactly what you mean, I had to go find some cheap plastic shelves for the "greentent", I had so many seed trays I was running out of space.
Your list looks like you will have plenty of vegies and herbs. You can make your own herbed cheese spread. Yummy!

25 Mar, 2009


Thanks everyone! I'm shuffling the Acer around at the moment, trying to keep it out of the wind.

I'm looking forward to adding more herbs to the ones I have already. Since some say they like the shade I've ear-marked another little patch for lawn to bed conversion. Just need approval from the powers that be now.

Bonkers - He comes in handy every now and then :o)

25 Mar, 2009


Ah, dads are good for that kind of thing arn't they and your're right - their garages are just FULL of useful stuff! Screws, washers, nails, tools, you name it........ The coldframe looks great - doesn't even look homemade (which is a compliment in this case)! The nack for getting young plants out of plastic plugs is to pinch them on the bottom ;-) They should then slide out. Not good idea to tug at the young plants, but I'm sure you already realised that!

25 Mar, 2009


Nice to see a few flowers, Peter - BUT in your list there are no more. :-( Didn't our campaign to get you growing just a few flowers work?

I shan't give fiendish plan...

27 Mar, 2009


Love the cold frame looks very professional, you are going to be very busy with all the plants you are growing.

28 Mar, 2009


Thanks again :o)
Sid - I tried pinching too but cracked the trays, I must be all thumbs, or need a bit more practice. I've more to do soon so I'll be trying different techniques again.
Spritz - There are a couple of sneaky ones :o) I planted some snowdrops with the crocuses but they didn't put on a very good show. In fact if you look carefully at the crocus photo you can see the full extent of my snowdrops in bloom - all two of them. I'm also waiting for about half a dozen Alliums to bloom. I planted them along the back of my herbs and veggies so hopefully they'll explode above them. They're about 6 inches tall at the moment and I'm hoping that in a couple of months I'll get some nice blooms :o)
Not forgetting my new hostas too - if the slugs don't get them.

30 Mar, 2009


did you grow that acer from seed?

21 May, 2009


Hi Bryan. No I didn't, I bought it last year as a small tree - it's about 3-4 ft tall and in full leaf now.

22 May, 2009

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