+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Cold Frames

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Central Indiana Zone 5a
    Posts
    4,917
    Blog Entries
    8

    Cold Frames

    I need a few ideas for a cheap, easy to assemble cold frame I can erect over my potted daylilies and other perennials this winter. In fact, I was thinking along the lines of PVC tubing and 4 mil plastic.

    Any ideas?

    Rebecca

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Bolton, Ont
    Posts
    149
    Rebecca
    depends on how wide how long you want this greenhouse to be.

    Im not convinced that PVC piping is durable in my region. Last thing I want is fixxing a greenhouse in the middle of the winter.

    Rebecca only you know how your winters are cuz I believe this is to be used for Winter storing.

    4 mil plastic will give you 1-2 yrs depending on your winters and care. 3mil is a 1 year poly.
    Huge wholesalers here use 3mil but when spring comes they cut holes to let the heat out, Until the crew start removing the poly. Keep in mind that you'r removing and replacing your poly every year which adds more wear. I recommend 6mil poly. Thats all I use.
    Rebecca more info on size for a more precise reply. PVC is just not my thing, but theres others. My two cents worth. George.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Central Indiana Zone 5a
    Posts
    4,917
    Blog Entries
    8
    I'm in zone 5a and winters can be cold and snow covered or just cold with only some snow over. Fall and early spring tend to be very wet, hence the real need for cover for these potted plants (daylilies, hosta, iris, Liliums).

    The only reason I thought of using PVC is because it is readily available and fairly inexpensive, but with the price of crude oil getting higher that may no longer be the case. A heavy gage wire would also work, but I have no idea where I'd get it pre-cut to the length I'd need.

    Although I do know my way around power tools as well as hand tools I really don't have the funds to purchase lumber for an "A" frame type of cold frame which would probably be even better that a hoop style. The way the neighbor's house and the back fence are situated any appreciable snow we would get that would drift would pile up against the north side of such a structure, even if it were only 2 - 3 ' tall. It would also have to be put together with wood screws so the frame could be disassembled during the growing season. It would have to be weighted down with concrete blocks as we do get some fairly significant winds in winter.

    Any material ideas anyone would have would be appreciated, just remember I am on an very, very tight budget!


    Rebecca

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Bolton, Ont
    Posts
    149
    Rebecca
    Length and height of greenhouse would be needed to give you a more precise answer. I dont know if your planning to make low tunnels instead of a greenhouse. Are you going to cover the ends of the greenhouse/ Tunnel.

    Rebecca hopefully Glen from BC will reply to your question. Im pretty sure he uses PVC low tunnels.

    If lumber is hard to find in your area you might check 1" PVC.
    George.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Central Indiana Zone 5a
    Posts
    4,917
    Blog Entries
    8
    George,

    Since these will only be for winter protection, they will only need be be, at most 3 feet tall, be it hoop or "A" fram style.

    Lumber isn't hard to come by, just expensive compared to PCV piping!

    Rebecca

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Bolton, Ont
    Posts
    149
    Rebecca were getting there. Approx Three feet high. You havent decided how wide you want to make the hoops. the wider the more expensive incl the poly.
    Rebecca is there a dealer that will sell you a small size piece of poly. Usually thier 20 feet wide. You might have to cut your own to your size.
    find out cost of PVC, usually sold by the foot. That will give you an idea how much each pipe will cost x amount needed to complete the tunnel. You still have the ends to cover.

    Rebecca reason to cover your perennials. I have plenty and they stay out doors, no covering except for leaves. Unless your propigating them in the fall. George.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Central Indiana Zone 5a
    Posts
    4,917
    Blog Entries
    8
    George,

    The main reason for covering is to try to avoid losing any more of my potted daylilies to crown rot; I lost over 100 plants to rot this Spring and I've never had that happen before! Perhaps I am just being paranoid, but why take chances. I do plan on getting as many in the ground as space permits, but there will still be some as well as Hosta seedlings in 6-inch mum pots. As well as various types of Liliums in small to large pots (I lost a lot of Liliums last winter as well)

    I've grown daylilies as potted plants for the last five years, at least, and last winter's losses were very detrimental to my breeding program. Most of these were also evergreen types (mistake number one!) and none are ones that can be replaced since the seeds were gifts from another Hybridizer. Actually two other Hybridizers.

    As for closing the ends, I've got that figured out! By leaving , in dressmaker terms, salvage at the ends, it can be draped, folded and stapled to the ground or weighted down with bricks/blocks or even dirt.

    Rows would only need to be wide enough to accommodate two of the largest pots I grow in and they are 14-inches, so 30-inches wide should be more than sufficient to allow for clearance over the tops. I do have a few very large pots/tubs, but they do very well on their own. Bigger pots and tubs do seem to winter over in much better shape than the smaller pots.

    In past years I have even wintered over small seedlings in 6-inch mum pots by putting them in the center of the staging area and surrounding them with larger pots then piling on the pine straw.

    Another reason is to keep the tree rats, aka: squirrels, out of the potted plants!


    Rebecca

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Surrey, BC, Canada
    Posts
    221

    Overwintering structures

    Rebecca and all--I know exactly what you mean with losses over the winter from rot. I have lost hundreds of hellebores (and some other perennials) left unprotected in our very wet (tho comparatively warm zone 7/8) winters here. I did try tipping 1 gal containers of astilbe on their sides last winter, which also worked to keep most of the rain out.

    I have used low tunnels as described here
    http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-404.html

    These cost me around $100 each up here. I have found you can cheap out on the 2x8 kickboards and go with 2x6.

    I just recently grabbed a slightly used galvanized metal hoophouse frame (20x40) for a few hundred bucks, which will eliminate the need for more of these low tunnels here. Like you, I have to watch my budget...so this larger structure was a godsend.

    Problem with low tunnels is they are hard to inspect thru the winter...occasionally the plants do need some watering (just pull back the poly in these parts and nature will surely do the watering from Oct. to Feb. anyway...And the low tunnel is not something you can walk around in to keep close tabs on the plants. Okay for overwintering when there's not much close management needed...and the price was right for my budget for all these years!

    Good luck with your research, and construction when the time comes. Sheesh, fall will be here before we know it, happens every year

    Glen

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    SE PA, zone 6b
    Posts
    217
    Visualize a rectangle. Get enough PVC to make that rectangle. Use the right angle joints for the corners. Do not glue. Get two pieces of shorter, and two pieces of longer PVC. Get 4 pieces of rebar. These will be the legs. Get a number of large office clips. I wouldn't make the rectangle more than about 4' wide and only as high as needed.

    http://www.middlecity.com/backyard/

    The above website will give you some great ideas of how to put this all together. Use white rather than clear plastic to cover. It will prevent the wide swings of temperature that result from clear plastic.

    I wish I could draw pix in this post. I visualize the rectangular area with one side taller than the other so the snow will fall off. Sort of a large box inverted over the plants. The large office clips will hold the plastic onto the PVC, but will allow you to get inside if you need. The rebar gets pounded into the ground to hold up the PVC. If necessary, drill holes in the upper end of the legs and connect the legs to the frame with wire.

    Some people poke small holes in the white plastic so that some water percs thru to keep stuff from drying out. Others just check the plants once in awhile.

    I plan to install something of this nature over my containers in the early part of November and remove it in March or early April. I'll probably pile a bunch of leaves over some of the containers, but not over things like DL that can easily stand the temps, but can rot easily. My containers are under two large maples that have been trimmed up, so there is lots of light, but little direct sun. It is on the south side of the house.

    I had a lot of hardy hibiscus in pots over last winter and lost most of them. I asked and was told to mulch heavily, so those survivors will get the leaves. I also lost a lot of hollies. I will use Wilt-Pruf on those in the future. The big issue here is to get the beds built in order to put the plants into them. ---SIGH---
    Last edited by 3girls; 08-17-2005 at 09:01 AM.
    Sandi
    SE PA, zone 6b

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Central Indiana Zone 5a
    Posts
    4,917
    Blog Entries
    8
    "The big issue here is to get the beds built in order to put the plants into them. ---SIGH---"

    I hear that!

    First, I have to get all the seedlings from last year's crop in the ground. I did manage to plant four rows yesterday, then ran out of prepped room and I really hate to ask the neighbor who is letting me use his garden to till the remaining area for a third time! But, I have to get then in the ground so I can move the keepers from this season over there so I can see how much space is left for some of the potted seedlings from 2 and 3 years ago. After I get that done I ought to be able to get a few of the "breeding stock" plants put into the spaces left by moving the keepers. Then, I might have some room to work in the staging area!

    Moving to a warmer climate where it doesn't freeze in winter is looking a lot easier to do!

    Rebecca

    This is a shot of the seedling bed and staging area. Not a big space to begin with, as you can see.
    Attached Images  

+ Reply to Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts