A cold frame greenhouse should be an essential feature of every home garden. It will provide shelter and warmth for plants and enable them to thrive outside of their normal period of growth. By extending the growing season it is possible to harvest not only superior quantities of fruit and vegetables but also better-quality produce, as it will have less exposure to the weather and bugs. The warm protected environment also enables a more extensive variety of crops to be raised.
Traditionally a cold frame was an unheated box or other structure with a transparent cover, usually made of glass, that could be lifted up or slid open for ventilation. Now, there are a variety of designs, made of different materials but they all function in the same way. The clear panels or covering absorbs the rays from the sun, which heats up the interior of the unit and this heat can be regulated by some form of venting.
There are number of factors that need consideration when selecting a cold frame greenhouse. These can include:
- Available space – Do you have a large plot or just a small yard?
- Location – Will it be in a sheltered or open location?
- Construction – Do you prefer a wood or metal frame or collapsible?
- Cost – Depends on size and materials
Taking all these factors into account, I have chosen a representative selection of those available. Continue reading to find out more.
1. Gardman Wood Framed Cold Frame
This Gardman cold frame has a firm jointed wooden frame, made from FSC certified timber. It is recommended that a sealant is applied to the wood for added weather protection. The transparent panels on the top and sides are twin walled polycarbonate. These not only allow penetration of light but also provides some insulation. A feature is the double opening hinged top, with locking stays, which allows easy access and more versatility when selecting a location. With a base area of just under one square meter it is an affordable option for balconies and patios.
2. Exaco Cold Frame for All Year Round Gardening
A robust cold frame with an aluminum frame and double skin polycarbonate panels to the top and sides. It is just over four feet long and the bottom is open, making it suitable for locating on open ground or a raised bed. The top section is securely fastened to prevent lifting in high winds and has two layers. The top layer can be slid open to provide ventilation. This exposes the lower layer netting which will continue to provide protection to the plants from birds and insects and weather damage from heavy rain or hail.
3. Quictent Cloche Style Mini Greenhouse
This cloche style miniature greenhouse provides more height and length than the average cold frame and makes it ideal for warming up the soil, to get an early start to the growing season, or to accommodate larger plants. It consists of a sturdy powder-coated tubular steel frame with a strong, transparent, UV protected covering. The cover has two zipped opening flaps for easy access and for air circulation.
It is easy to assemble for use and, when not required, to take apart for storage. Once assembled it is very light and will need some securing to the ground. This can be done by placing weights, such as bricks, on the skirt or with ground stakes.
4. MCombo Upright Cold Frame Plant House
The upright style of the MCombo Planter make it ideal for smaller spaces. It is also well suited to gardeners where eye-level gardening is necessary or preferred.
The geometrically designed apex top frame is constructed from fir wood. The style is aesthetically pleasing and provides extra strength and durability. Two opening doors at the front and two lifting roof panels provide easy access to the unit and plenty of ventilation. The frame in infilled with translucent and frosted PVC panels. Two wooden, slatted shelves are provided and these can be fitted at the selected height.
5. Haxnicks Sunbubble Greenhouse Conservatory
With the patented one-piece folding design of the Haxnicks Sunbubble, you can construct a greenhouse or conservatory in minutes (see video below). It is just as easy to take down and tidy away, in the storage bag provided, when it is no longer required.
The erected structure is dome shaped so that the sides are at 90 degrees to the sun throughout the day. This lets in more sun so that greater warmth is generated and retained. It comprises a flexible frame, made of collapsible fiberglass rods, with a strong UV stabilized PVC covering. The larger model is 11ft 6in diameter and 7ft 3in high, providing a very generous protected area for plants or recreation. It has 12 adjustable vents to regulate the internal temperature and a strong zipped doorway.
Easy Assembly of the Haxnicks Sunbubble
There is a huge selection of cold frame greenhouses available. The above examples are only a sample. I do think they cover a wide range of requirements but everyone’s choice is personal. I do hope that they provide a starting point for you find a model that is exactly right for you and your garden.
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