Space and budget are the two major considerations in
choosing the right cold frame; most models feature a slanted
design that allows rain and snow to slide off.
Pre-packaged cold frames are generally made of hard,
durable polycarbonate plastic and are able to effectively
resist hail and other adverse weather conditions.
Kits with built-in frames generally feature a simple
design that requires only a hammer for complete assembly.
To ensure that a cold frame is able to absorb a sufficient
amount of heat during the day, place the structure along a
home's southern or western exposure.
During the hours when the frame is absorbing heat, prop
the door open with a wooden dowel to provide ventilation and
encourage air circulation (see right). In the evening,
close the lid to protect the plants from cold temperatures.
Cold frames are great for over-wintering plants as well as
starting seeds. (Note: When starting seeds in a cold frame,
it may necessary to provide "bottom heat" (from a
source like a heat mat) to get seeds started.)
Cold-tolerant varieties that make good choices for cold
frames include pansies, violas and most vegetables.