A Cold Frame for Hot Weather

In February, I got excited for spring and planted 24 jalapeño seeds and 24 habanero seeds. But only about half of each germinated. Chris looked skeptical and said it was too early, which turns out he was right because now I have big seedlings, too big for in the house. 


I wanted to build a cold frame for them, since it’s too early for them to go outside. They have been growing in my ice box of a house, so they’re acclimatized to 16 degrees. 


It’s getting sunnier during the days so I want them to go outside and get used to the wind and sun but they’re so fragile, the wind beats them up. So I hunted around for old windows and found some at an amazing place called Home Re-Usables in Edmonton. 


Turns out it’s like a discount re-used home warehouse in there, and I should NOT be unattended in there. So many amazing finds for so cheap! I had to focus on only leaving with windows. 

I came home with 4 windows, 2 hinges, and a handle for $46. I figured I wanted it designed lower with more floor space, versus taller and skinnier. 


I reused wood and screws from previous projects, but did have to buy a 3/8 plywood sheet and pressure treated 2×2’s totaling about $35. 

I built the bottom and framed it in with the side windows first and put it on 2×2 skids so it doesn’t kill the grass and it’s easy to move. 


I had no idea what to do when it came to angling the window, if you know me, I cannot cut angles at all. But I figured it out eventually, only wasting one little chunk of 2×2 in the process.  I even installed hinges correctly! 

I had all my saws out, table saw, mitre saw and a brand new circular saw I treated myself to. It was on sale, ok?!


It needs a coat of paint but I just wanted it done and out there so I can get my plants in it. So I put it in the sun thinking that’d be perfect for the peppers, they love the sun. 

I put one test plant in there with the lid open and it wilted almost immediately. I moved the plant back inside and went to town to buy a thermometer. It was 31 degrees in there with the lid open! Shocking for my plants that are used to 16 degrees. 


So it turns out it’s called a cold frame, not a so-hot-it-burns-your-plants frame. I suppose I had the wrong idea for it, it’s supposed to supply warmth, humidity and UV exposure, rather than baking hot sauna heat. Now I know. 

I shall move it to the backyard, somewhere shadier, and only exposed to morning sun at the most. 

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