a completed cold frame
Photo: Matthew Benson


Not all gardeners have the luck to live in temperate climes. Instead of battling frost, install a cold frame to protect your plants like a mini greenhouse. Its natural warmth lets you foster seedlings in early spring and keep veggies going through fall and even into winter. This Old House senior technical editor Mark Powers shows how to build the box from rot-resistant wood and a salvaged window. Once it's finished, choose a south-facing spot in your yard where water won't pool, and enjoy all that extra gardening time.
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    Tools List

    • miter saw
      miter saw
    • jigsaw
    • drill
    • straightedge guide
    • hand clamps
    • caulk gun
      caulk gun
    • metal garden rake
      garden rake
    • garden spade
      garden spade

    Shopping List

    1. 5/4x6 decking. Get at least three 8-foot boards.

    2. salvaged window sash 3. pavers Get enough to set beneath each side of the frame.

    4. construction adhesive

    5. 1-inch deck screws

    6. 2½-inch deck screws

    7. brass sash pull

    8. 4-inch galvanized strap hinges Get two to attach the window to the frame.

    9. 4-inch removable-pin hinges Get one for the inside of each corner to make the frame collapsible.

    10. ½-inch dowel Get at least 6 feet to make venting poles of various lengths.