For more information about DIY in the garden, check out How to Start Seedlings Indoors.
A Modified Straw Bale Cold Frame
The first time I created a straw bale cold frame was back in 2008 at our last house. I wanted an easy way to get my greens started early in the year and keep them growing later in the fall. Two different cold frames created with straw bales and old storm windows allowed me to grow our own salads for about a month longer at the beginning and end of our season.
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Those first straw bale cold frames were replaced by my little greenhouse here on our homestead. But the greenhouse doesn’t seem to protect the baby greens as well as the straw bales and glass, so I’ve returned to this really attractive method of extending my season.
Making Do With What I’ve Got
Sure, I’d love to build a permanent cold frame with wood, glass, hinges, and insulation…that would be pretty cool. But my construction skills are pretty rudimentary and usually involve duct tape (the redneck’s secret weapon) and some curse words, plus a few nicks and cuts for good measure. So I tend to create the easiest, fastest, and cheapest solutions I can slap together with whatever I’ve got laying around. The only material I needed to purchase were straw bales for $4 each and I can use them in the garden to line my paths when it gets warmer. The old storm door was left over from a remodeling project.
I modified the straw bale cold frames I’ve seen online where the back was created from bales too, and instead butted the cold frame up against the west side of our garage. I might create another cold frame with straw bales for the back in the garden too. But I’ll have to get an area dug up and prepared first. And, wonder of wonders, I actually need to purchase more lettuce seed for the next cold frame. Imagine my surprise when I used up my lettuce seed!
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