Those intrepid gardeners of the northern regions often find that a good chunk of the year is devoted to a particularly nasty period of cold which is not always the best for flowers and gardens. This, “winter” is not always the kindest to those cursed with a green thumb but with the aid of a cold frame, gardening during the colder months is actually possible.
A cold frame is basically a micro-environment for your garden. Much like a greenhouse, the cold frame draws and traps heat, which is ideal for extending the growing season of your garden. Some even use a cold frame for their flowers. Even orchids have been known to be kept perfectly fine in a cold frame.
A cold frame looks like a box with a window that holds the garden or flowers and really it does not even have to be anything more complicated than that. Some gardeners choose to buy cold frame kits made of special materials with treated and tempered glass that promises to be the best way to trap heat.
Personally, I see no need for manufactured kits when you can easily assemble one for relatively cheap.
Many gardeners prefer making their own just for the sake of doing it and as a way to save some cash. You can either choose a portable cold frame or one that is fixed to a location. You can find a witty and detailed set of instructions over at Cats and Catts: Insane in the Cold Frame.
There are several blueprints for cold frames that can be found online and in popular gardening blogs but you will essentially need wood, a pane of glass or a discarded window and an afternoon free.
The uses for a cold frame are numerous depending upon the season. Planting seedlings in the cold frame will insure a safe incubation period and produce will be able to resume growing much sooner than those that were left outside of the cold frame. Outside flowering plants will enjoy an extended blooming period while inside the shelter and the heat of the cold frame while their cousins go into hibernation.
A cold frame is a great tool for every gardener no matter the skill level. Easy to build, simple to use, cold frames are certainly the way to go.
To find the right type of orchid for you (some that will go great in a cold frame and some that will not), this is the Top 10 Most Popular Types of Orchids.