This weekend I decided to make a cold frame. I am planning planting lots of flower seeds this year and I'm going to need somewhere to harden them off before they are planted outside.
We had some leftover fence/pallet wood from our extension build 3 years ago. I saved this wood from the skip (it was a constant game between me and the builder - he would put things in the skip and I would take them out) who wants throw good things away that you've paid for? It's been sat in front of our garage ever since.
The frame is a super simple design. I bought a sheet of twin polycarbonate for the lid for the grand sum of £10 and cut it into two because I wanted two smaller frames that would be more portable. I made the lid first and then the box to fit the lid.
I used wood glue on the corners as well as screwing the timber together. The hinges to open the top nearly defeated me, I just couldn't work out which way they needed to go, but I got there in the end.
I added a baton that holds open the top for ventilation but folds away when not needed.
As you can see I have stained the outside black but I will paint the inside with white emulsion to reflect the light for the young plants and seedlings it will contain. I cannot tell you, how much pleasure making this has given me.
So, the polycarbonate was £10, the hinges were £8 and that was it! I am making another, so each comes to a grand total of £9. Not bad.
In the background of some of the pictures you can see my stone trough. This came from our family farm that was sold 20 years ago. I asked Dad if I could have a stone trough, we had quite a few hanging around, and we ended up swapping, me a gardening book of mine Dad liked, and him the trough. He brought it up to our house on the back of his pick-up, I think he used the tractor to get it in, and dropped it onto a bale of hay and then onto bricks, where it has stayed at the front of our house ever since.
The front of the house is south facing and over the years the trough has usually been planted with geraniums or bedding plants in the summer which require loads of watering and more often than not, bare soil in the winter, which was rather depressing.
At the end of last summer I decided it was time for a change, going for year round interest.
I took a trip to the garden centre and bought some gritty compost and some sempervivums or Houseleeks, easy to grow and requiring very little maintenance.
I used some Cotswold Stone slates that also came from the farm when we left, to try and replicate some rocky outcrops. Sempervivums hate their leaves becoming wet so when it was all planted up, I top dressed with gravel.
And that's all you have to do. They will look after themselves, happy in the sun, happy in the cold and don't need watering.
Some sempervivums (like sunflowers) even have Fibonacci sequences, which fascinate me. Have a look at these beauties, isn't nature amazing?
I hope you are well and bearing up in these rubbish times. It is still cold here, even though it doesn't look like it is. January. Meh!
Stay safe.....Clicky Needles.