A great way of extending the growing season or getting a jump on the garden is by using a cold frame. But are you aware that a cold frame and hotbed is the same thing? If not, come join me in the world of cold frames, hotbeds and sustainability.
Whether you are talking about Outdora’s Redwood Cold Frame Starter Box Greenhouse or the Solexx Deluxe Cold Frame, the general definition is the same. A cold frame is solely heated by the sun and is normally used for cool-season or Cole crops. A hotbed is artificially heated in some way and is typically used for warm-season crops, such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants.
Both of these structures can be directly planted into or seeded flats can be placed inside each. To maximize the amount of sunlight that is typically available during the spring and fall when these structures are used, the cold frame/hotbed is normally painted white or silver on the inside. Both of these colors reflect the light back onto the plants, which aids them in the photosynthetic process.
The crispness of the air is a signal that gardening season is coming to a close. Some plants thrive in hot weather such as tomatoes and peppers while others falter when hotter weather is present. These cool season plants or cole crops include kale, lettuces, spinach, peas, cauliflower, and broccoli to name a few. Typically the cooler the temperature the better these cole crops like it but…Freezing temperatures can be the down fall for these plants. The solution to this temperature dilemma and the never-ending question of how to extend the growing season is the use of a cold frame greenhouse.
How a cold frame works is very similar to how a greenhouse works. Both utilize solar radiation to create heat in an enclosed space. But unlike a greenhouse a cold frame can utilize soil temperature along with solar radiation to keep things warm. And temperature can be regulated by simply opening up the window during the day and closing at night.