Oct 22nd, 2009
My coldframe is finished and ready for some Winter action. Only five months late but hey one can’t have everything. I had hoped to be growing Melon in there this year but it just wasn’t done in time. Firstly, the brick base wasn’t built so Under Gardener took care of that. Then there was no frame on it, so we asked our builder to do that. And then it wasn’t angle-ground into a nice slopey-slope, so the same builder took care of that. And then it wasn’t weatherproofed, and so I took care of that. But now, well now it’s finished. Hmmm…now what can I put in there?
Here’s the work in progress shots:
I based the design on the coldframes I saw at The Lost Gardens of Heligan. First, choose some nice bricks and start building. We had some handmade bricks left over from our garden redesign. Use a string line and a spirit level like proper builders do otherwise it will be wonky. We used ready-made motar. It was fine.
Make the back of your coldframe higher than the front. Not too steep, just one or two bricks higher. This is to let in as much light as possible.
Start making the frame for the top. It’s basically three window panes stuck together. We watched the builder do this. Pretty skilled work actually. I think it would be a good idea to get the pros in for this bit – like we did.
Then the frame is fixed to a baton that runs across the back wall of the coldframe. This acts as the lid and can be opened and closed. He also used an angle-grinder to make the brick sides of the coldframe completely flush. Don’t try this at home kids – eye protection at the ready!
The frame was then glazed – in our case with perspex since we’ve got a little un’. And maybe you can see in the photo the glazing ‘runs’ off the edge to let the water run off and avoid rotting the frame. All very neat.
So there you have it. How to build a Victorian-esque coldframe! All I have in there at the moment are some Strawberry plants and an ailing Chilli.
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