Men's Shed: Cold Frame DIY Pack

Welcome to your Cold Frame DIY Pack made by the New Milton Men’s Shed and Forest Arts Centre!

What is a cold frame?  

Cold frames protect plants from strong winds and cold temperatures. Gardeners use cold frames to extend their gardening season — both in the autumn to protect plants for a few more weeks and in the spring to get a jumpstart on sowing seeds. Cold frames can also be used to “harden off” seedlings that were started indoors.

What is in my pack?

  • All the materials and fixings
  • Seeds
  • Compost
  • A seed dispenser
  • Written instructions (video instructions can be found below)
Cold frame instructions

How to use your cold frame:

Using for growing veg or plants in compost:

At least two weeks before you sow early vegetables like spinach, radishes or peas in spring, put your cold frame in place. This will help to gently warm the soil within the frame to temperatures that are more suited to growing cool-season vegetables. If you have a soil thermometer, wait until temperatures are consistently around 7°C (45°F) for best success. This will ensure the soil is warm and dry enough to give your seeds the best start.

Plants like tomatoes, aubergines and peppers that need warmer temperatures are best started indoors in cool regions, but if you’re planning on growing them outside in summer, they can be moved into the cold frame temporarily before planting out in their final positions.

Don’t risk placing the plants in the cold frame earlier than a couple of weeks before your last expected frost date and stay alert to forecasts of overnight frosts. Be on hand with old blankets to provide extra insulation when needed. The cold frame will protect them from cold winds and other bad weather that might stunt their tender young growth, while freeing up space indoors for more sowings.

Harden off seedlings

All indoor-sown plants benefit from a period of ‘hardening off’ before being moved outside permanently. This can be done by simply placing them in a sheltered spot outdoors for gradually longer periods each day over a week or two, but when you’ve got lots of pots and trays to move it can become a chore. Instead move your seedlings into your cold frame, where hardening off is easy – just open the lid for longer and longer periods each day.

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New Milton Men’s Shed exists to provide a safe and friendly environment, for people to come together and to provide a contact point for like minded folk to meet and socialise. It is an informal group of men (others are also welcome) who get together to talk/discuss any topic under the sun and occasionally get involved in some physical activity. Members share skills, knowledge and experience, to enrich each other’s lives by undertaking practical projects and using their shed as a social hub. Activities of the shed are driven by the aims and interests of its membership, to benefit themselves and the wider community, such as local charities and opportunities.

Visit the Men's Shed website to find out more

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