Intro: Tomato Hot House
I generally plant 30 to 40 tomato plants in my garden, but a late freeze can really be a problem. Here is my solution, I hope.
My neighbor put some aluminum framed storm windows out by the curb for trash pickup. I grabbed them up, not knowing at the time what I was going to use them for. Five years pass........
I went to Walmart this morning and saw they had little tomato plants displayed for sale. I bought 20, then wondered what I was going to do to keep them from freezing if we get another cold spell.
And then it hit me....... Make a cold frame out of the storm windows. I had 4 big ones and 2 same height but narrower. I used 3 big for front, back and top. Used 2 narrow for ends. It looks like a pro model costing $200 or more. It took me 30 minutes to construct. I wired the storm windows together after punching a few holes for the wire. I set them up on bricks to keep them out of dirt and put in a 4" layer of leaves to insulate from north wind blowing past the bricks.
To access the plants and other things inside of it, I just slide one of the five windows open, just as you would if they were on a house. Today (3/29/'14) I mixed up some loam soil and coffee grounds (50/50), put it in little 3 oz paper cups and plastic cups. I then punched drain holes in cups, watered the mix and planted several different seeds, including tomatoes, okra, baby watermelon, yellow meat watermelon, and some flowers called "Indian Blanket". My little hothouse is about full. I will edit this post with progress as seeds sprout.
I made a tool I call the "grass plugger" that also is great for planting little plants lie the tomato plants I bought and am germinating in the little cups. It is fantastic. I will try to post an Instructable on it soon, so check back for it.
I love re-purposing things, especially when the cost is $0.00.