Friday, October 17, 2008

Nobody could ever accuse me of under-engineering...

This week has definitely marked a turn in the seasons, with cool rains and falling temperatures. I thought I'd better get on the stick and finish the top to my cold frame before my carrots got caught by a freeze.

I had a cedar box that I've used as a raised bed in the past, so I thought I'd use that as the base and build a removable top for it. That way I can put the box back to use as a raised bed if I ever need it.

Here are some pics of how the top turned out:




I started with using simple plastic sheeting, but when I put it out in the rain one night this week to test it, it filled with water and tore. So I got some clear corrugated PVC roofing material and used that instead. The PVC and foam support together cost about $17. (A plexiglass sheet for the same size would have cost $25.) The cedar I used for the top frame is made of 4" and 6" fencing pickets, with the sides cut on a slope to create run-off, and they cost ~$12 total. So the top wasn't cheap--well more than I would pay for carrots or arugula in the store--but it is sturdy, and should last several seasons, thus amortizing the cost. I hope. Plus, I can't stand flimsy construction. It just offends my sensibilities.

Many instructions for cold frames suggest using an old window, which is fine if you have old windows lying around. I do not, preferring to use my old windows for, well, windows. I find that the house is much warmer that way.

I ran poultry wire along the inside of the box, and plan to fill it with leaf litter for added insulation:


Hopefully, the timing of the pecan trees' leaf drop will correspond to the need for added insulation. I thought about getting some builder's insulation and tacking it on the inside (per some instructions I found on the internet), but since I had a roll of poultry wire lying around, this was cheaper free, organic, and at the end of the season, I'll have material for compost. As Martha would say, it's a good thing.

I think it has turned out well. It will be interesting to see how long into the winter season I can grow things. Plus, I hope to use it in the spring to start seedlings for my foray into heirlooms. I do love a good experiment!

And building things. I love building things. I am just a building fool...

3 comments:

  1. Sounds like a good sort of fool to be, all things considered. This project looks great, anyway. Want to come by my place in Montana and build one for me? No? Shucks.
    --Kate

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  2. Hey, I love Montana! Just say the word, and I'm there.;-)

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  3. Excellent. I think I could build something like that, though it wouldn't look quite as nice as that. Love the idea of using leaves as insulation on the inside! Thanks for the ideas!

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