Our growing season is short, why not extend it with a conservatory. Cold frames imitate mini greenhouses, safeguarding plants from frost, freezing temperature levels and stormy weather condition. Throughout the day, the sun heats the ground under the conservatory. That heat is trapped inside the conservatory at night, keeping the plants warm.
With a conservatory, you can begin growing annuals and vegetables several weeks prior to they can securely be planted outside. In the spring a conservatory works fantastic for starting seeds, solidifying off flats of seedlings, or planting seedlings early in the garden. You can also extend the growing season in the fall by planting 2nd crops of cold weather veggies in late summertime, and collecting them weeks after the other veggies are gone.
Anybody can develop a conservatory with little or no charge; they are simple to develop from recycled materials. I made my conservatory out of two old windows I got totally free, and scraps of lumber I had in the garage.
A cold frame is just a box that is greater in the back than the front, with a clear top and open bottom. The top can be made with an old shower door, patio door, windows, clear plastic, or any other long lasting, transparent product. The base of the cold frame could also be constructed of numerous kinds of recycled materials such as wood, concrete block, brick or straw bales. The size of package will be determined by the size of the top. The bottom of the cold frame is open and it either sits on top of the ground, or can be buried into the soil a few inches. There are various design strategies offered on the internet.
The very best place to place a cold frame is dealing with south or west. Putting the conservatory up versus a structure such as a home, garage or fence will offer more defense and keep the conservatory warmer at night. On exceptionally cold nights, the cold frame can be covered by a blanket to help keep the heat in.
In my experience, the greatest difficulty of utilizing a cold frame is venting it. A cold frame should be vented to release excess heat and keep the seeds or plants from overheating. It’s incredible how hot it acts on a bright day, even if it’s cold outside.
You can vent the conservatory by hand by propping open the cover on sunny days, and closing it on cold nights. Otherwise an automatic vent controller could be purchased, which will open and close the cover at particular temperature levels. It’s a great concept to keep a minimum-maximum thermometer in the cold frame to keep track of the temperature changes.
As soon as the weather warms up enough that the plants can survive outside, you can either get rid of the whole conservatory, or just the lid. I remove the windows from my cold frame and leave the base in the garden all year. The windows are easy to save in the garage up until I need them once again in the fall.
Conservatory are an easy and inexpensive method to extend your growing season. Every gardener needs to give conservatory gardening a try.