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I don't have room for a greenhouse but keep hearing that coldframes are also useful. Are they just for tender plants to over winter or will I be able to sow seeds in pots then keep them in a cold frame? 

scroggin

 I use mine to harden off seedlings sown either indoors or the greenhouse. As I mainly grow veg they can also be used to sow tender veg like courgettes, beans etc. 

Borderline

Cold frames are very useful for holiding plants in pots that need protection from extreme weathers (wind and excess rain) to holding young plants that are too small to plant out in autumn/spring. Also, a place where cuttings could be stored, but only plants that can tolerate cold conditions but not frosty conditions. So, not always ideal for all plants. Think of it like a mini unheated greenhouse. But beware, the glass cover can over-heat plants if the sun is out. So, it's just as important to keep ventilation and open the tops to avoid over-heating when the sun is out. Great to have if you don't have a greenhouse.

hollie hock

I don't have a green house either so hubby makes my frames for me. Mine tend to be vertical rather than horizontal with shelving  so I can get more in. I sow most of my seeds in them, nuture small plants/cuttings and overwinter hardy stuff. The doors to mine are left open most of the time for ventilation. Love cold frames

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hollie hock

Very smart looking frame Dove, I think the ones with a bit of height are much more versatile than the traditional horizontal ones

AnniD

If you're into seed sowing and taking cuttings, one is really useful for hardening off and growing on.Mine is up against the house wall to take advantage of any warmth,and l use fleece over the top in cold weather. If it gets really cold, I line it with big pieces of white polystyrene cut to fit. As others have said, you need to keep an eye on ventilation and watering.

If you want to give it a try you could always try advertising for one on freecycle,etc. 

Cold frames are ideal for plants seedlings and cuttings that do not need heat, they need to be watched though as temperature can rise quickly if the sun gets on them. Ground level temperature is always a few degrees higher as covered soil will hold the heat. If the frame is against a brick wall the wall will give back heat at night too.

Mine always had a full opening top glass (old windows) that could be propped up in the morning and closed at night. In winter,  some bubble wrap or blanket would go on the top weighed down with bricks when frost was due. They do not take the place of a heated greenhouse but are very good for some plants that are not frost hardy but do not need a lot of heat.

A warning always read the seed packet or look it up in a book as some seeds need heat others do not and the heat needed to germinate can vary, it can mean the loss of seed if not heeded.

Frank.

Last edited: 30 December 2017 10:41:16

Mike Allen

From a pofessional aspect. The sequence is.  Greehouse, seed sowing, pricking out and in some cases, potting up or even potting on.  The coldframe is a valuable asset.  Yes in some cases it can substitute a greenhouse.  The practicallity is.  It provides temporary protection from the outside elements, that in turn allow the plants etc to harden off prior to planting out.

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