Cold Frame (Insulated)

Introduction: Cold Frame (Insulated)

This Insulated Cold Frame is Great for

-- winter food-growing without an external heat source

This Insulated Cold Frame instructable uses

-straw/hay bails
-scavenged pieces of wood
-used/rejected old window (hopefully non-leaded)
-about a foot of an old rubber hose for a hinge (another option is cloth)
-Horse Poop - when it biodegrades it heats the cold frame and provides nutrients to your food.

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Step 1: Place Window on Top of Hay Bales

This will give you an idea of how big of a gap you need.

Step 2: Match Hay Bales to Window Frame Size

Arrange the hay bales in a way that the hole they make will be completely covered by the window frame you've scavenged.

Step 3: Create Window Support

Figure out a way to make a frame with some of your scavenged wood.

The frame to be arched only about this high-- you can look at other cold frame instructables or images on the web to compare angles. Usually if the angle is too high, it will create hotspots, that your plants won't like. Too low will freeze the plants: not enough winter sunlight.

The key point here is to remember you will have plywood to encase the rest of the window in.

So make sure the support is flush against the window with little to no gaps.

We used one big baseboard on the back to cover the gap in the hay bale a little more. You can choose to use large base boards on all sides of the window for extra insulation.

Step 4: Make Hinges for Window

We used a rubber hose piece, but you can use a thick layered piece of cloth, or a real hinge.

The idea is to minimize cost here, so be creative with what you've got.

What we did was simply nail the hose to the window and the support.

Step 5: Cover the Window Support

Cut and measure scavenged ply-wood to fit flush against the window frame on all three sides.

Step 6: You're Ready for Siberia! ...almost,stepId=SBN0PR3G0AMK3K5

Now all you have left to do is to fill the bottom (experiment, or just do 50%) with horse manure. Add compost on top of that, and some soil. As the bacteria break down and eat the manure they will produce heat, which your plants will love in combination with the passive solar provided by the arched window.


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    5 Discussions


    10 years ago on Step 3

    How do you know at what angle the frame should be? That is, what are the considerations for angling the windows at a 0 percent slope vs., say, a 30 percent slope?

    You say that too great a pitch (slope) causes hot spots that are not conducive to plant growth, while too low a pitch eliminates too much sunlight.  Sooo, what pitch would be "too great"?  In addition, I do wonder why not make a double sided cold frame...kind of a mini green house.

    Any insight would be much appreciated as I have some windows that I'd love to incorporate into a cold frame, but am unsure about the pitch issue.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    what kinds of plants can grow during the winter?  Only herbs and lettuce - do you think tomatoes might actually survive in the Midwest?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    And as far as tomatoes, they are very popular here where I am in fairfield iowa. Especially in wintertime. People do canning for extra tomatoes in the summertime so they have some for the winter time.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction is a good resource.
    a search for
    "winter food cold frames"
    will give you many options.

    Here's one of the pages from a google search: