By building a cold frame, you can grow vegetables during the winter so you can feast on fresh produce from your backyard all year. It's not only delicious, but also environmentally friendly because it doesn't use any fossil fuel to get it on your table.
Tools and Materials
(All sizes can be adjusted to fit the gardener's needs.)
36-inch 1-by-12 (use pine, cedar, or other inexpensive lumber)
Two 1-by-12s, cut 22 1/2 inches long
Two 36-inch 1-by-2s
Two 21-inch 1-by-2s
Two 24-inch pieces 7/8-inch lattice
Two 24-inch pieces 1 1/2-inch lattice
Two small wood scraps
Glass (or plexiglass) 22 by 34 inches
1 1/2-inch wood screws
1 inch finish nails or brads
Cold Frame How-To
Make Cold Frame Box
1. Using jigsaw, cut the two shorter 1-by-12s diagonally lengthwise, from 12 to 8 inches.
2. Glue the wider ends to the 36-inch 1-by-12.
3. Drive screws through the 36-inch 1-by-12 into the ends of the slant-cut sides. At least two per side.
4. Similarly, attach the 36-inch 1-by-8 to the narrow ends of slant-cut sides (finished box should be 24 by 36 inches).
5. Turn box over.
Make Cold Frame Lid
1. Lay 1-by-2 out flat to form a 24-by-36-inch rectangle.
2. Glue and screw 36-inch pieces to 24-inch pieces; predrill holes to avoid splitting wood.
3. Glue 7/8-inch lattice to 1 1/2-inch lattice, lengthwise along an edge. Repeat.
4. Glue the assembled lattice pieces along the outer edges of the 24-inch sides.
5. Secure with finishing nails to create slot for glass.
6. Slide glass into place.
7. Glue and nail wood scrap along edge of frame to hold glass in place. We used scrap pieces of 7/8-inch lattice.
8. Place lid on box. Lid may or may not be attached with hinges.
You want the soil in your cold frame to be full of organic matter, rich, loose, and fluffy for good drainage -- just like any good garden soil. You'll find you don't have to water very much in the winter because when the sun is low in the sky there is much less evaporation.
Martha's secret source: a Cold Frame Automatic Opener, which can be purchased at johnnyseeds.com. For more year-round gardening tips, read "The Garden Primer" by Barbara Damrosch and "Four Season Harvest" by Eliot Coleman.
Special thanks to gardeners.com for giving our entire studio audience a 25 dollar gift certificate.