We recently published a post on cold frames you can make with repurposed materials, but none of the ones we listed are quite like the one my husband built over the weekend, so I want to show you how we built a cold frame from straw bales, old glass doors and some scrap wood!
My husband had the idea to use straw bales to form the walls of a cold frame. But, once we started counting up how many we’d need and how much those bales would cost us we got pretty discouraged. We’d already sourced some old sliding glass doors for super cheap and we knew we’d use those for the top, slanted towards the sunlight. But, the walls still stumped us.
Finally my husband thought of using one of our raised beds and putting straw bales just on one side, leaning the glass against them and letting the edge of the bed be the front wall! Then we’d only have to do something about the ends. Once we had everything else in place, he used some scrap plywood we’d kept in the scrap pile, cut it into triangles and screwed it into the ends of the raised beds. We put a few screws in the tops of the boards at the front of the beds to keep the glass doors from sliding off. Ta-Da! We have a cold frame!
Does it work? You bet! Within 30 minutes of putting the glass on, the temperature under the glass was 92 degrees… We were shivering a bit in the very breezy 52 degree weather. We actually had to vent this thing on a cool day!
Resource: Building & Using Cold Frames by Charles Siegchrist
How to Build a Cold Frame Using Straw Bales
This is the finished cold frame. You can see the straw bales are standing on their sides for a taller and narrower wall, leaving more space to plant in front of them.
Here you can see the cold frame in the background, with the gap on the end. Hubs is cutting a piece of wood to screw to the bed’s frame and fill that space.
More wood from the scrap pile to vent the cold frame cause it was 40 degrees warmer in there than it was outside!
My kale and swiss chard seem happy in the cold frame. So do my cucumbers and lettuce!