By Mike Thayer
I live in Kansas, so the temps vary big time. In the spring months it could be 70 degrees one day and 32 degrees the next until Mother's Day, the last day on the Farmer's Almanac Calendar of when the danger of frost has passed.
Using a cold frame can help you deal with that crazy weather and get an early start in the garden. They're great because they insulate plants from those dramatic swings in temperature, they act as a shelter from the wind and the best part, come in quite handy when transitioning starter plants from an indoor environment to the great outdoors.
Creating a cold frame can be intimidating though, the construction of wood or PVC pipe framing, the use of plastic sheeting, or perhaps repurposing an old storm window. And the downside to building a cold frame such as this is it's set in a certain place in the yard. Having a cold frame in an apartment or patio setting is not an easy thing to do either. Or is it...
Enter a cheat, the plastic drawer Cold Frame
Do you have one of those plastic drawer sets on wheels that you no longer use? Turn it into a cold frame. Even if you don't have one of those on hand, they are inexpensive. I picked one up today at Walmart for $20 for the sole purpose of using it as a cold frame, no construction required! I've put all my starter pots that I started from seed indoors in it. The drawers can be opened up during the day for ventilation and getting the starter plants acclimated to the great outdoors, then I can easily shut the drawers at night if there is a frost warning. The top of the drawer set serves as a work surface. On wheels, the 'cold frame' is mobile. I can move it around to maximize sun exposure, or protect it from stormy weather (plus shutting the drawers).
I could NOT have built a cold frame this mobile and easy to use for $20. I've been able to house tomatoes, brussel sprouts, cucumbers and a variety of flowers in this easy peasy cold frame. The three drawers provide ample space for all the seeds I've started indoors and will provide great protection from any frost warning, all I have to do is shut the drawers.
$pend Wisely My Friends...