Garden show reports: Cedar Cold Frames

While I was at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show last week, there were some products that caught my eye.

The first one was a beautifully-made cold frame from Cedar Cold Frames, which is based in Sandpoint, ID. It is 4 feet long by 2 1/2 feet deep and fits six 10" x 20" flats.

I like how it is clear all around so that the sun will warm the cold frame no matter how low it gets in the sky during the colder months of the year. The clear material is corrugated polycarbonate and the frame is made of western red cedar.

They have used galvanized and stainless steel fasteners to avoid rusting; these sturdy fasteners will easily hold together all of the components.

The lid can be propped up in two different settings to take advantage of the weather; these props are very secure so even if it's windy, the lid won't go flying off.

The folks who designed the cold frame like to set them on top of a raised bed. Although that isn't necessary, it that makes it more easily accessible and takes advantage of the insulating qualities of the soil in the raised bed.

The cold frame sells for $180.

Why would you want a cold frame? Well, it's a great way to extend our short growing season. Last fall, I grew spinach and lettuce in a plastic hoop tunnel and it was so nice to be able to harvest fresh greens all the way into December. The down side to my plastic hoop tunnel was that it was different to lift it off of the bed to harvest. Sometimes it would be frozen to the ground around my raised bed and often, the plastic would sink down from snow or rain that had accumulated onto the top of it. So this type of cold frame would solve that problem.

I spoke to the owners of Cedar Cold Frames and they indicated the soil temperature inside their cold frames can be as much as 20 degrees higher than the soil elsewhere in the garden. That's impressive.