My New (Free!) Cold Frame

My garden is about ready to be put to bed for the season. Some beautiful zinnias remain.

The only vegetables left are the Brussel sprouts

and the turnips.

They’re cold-hardy vegetables and can handle the hard frosts we’ve been seeing in the morning. I’d planned on leaving the second  crop of carrots in a few weeks more, too, but was surprised today, to find them wilted, so I decided to harvest them. However, when I went to pull them up there was nothing but tops! No wonder they were looking so sad. They’d been eaten by an unknown burrowing animal. I even found the tunnel holes in the raised bed. Too big for chipmunks. I’m guessing that a relative of Bugs Bunny did the damage. I fed the tops to the goats, who were happy to get the greens.

I’m ready to take a break from gardening, and was all set to clean up and leave things until spring, but then I found three double-paned glass doors at the town dump. I couldn’t resist. I tidied up a raised bed, planted carrots, lettuce and turnips,

watered, and covered them up with the doors. Voila! Instant cold frame. All I have to do is add a board at the end to keep the cold wind from blowing in.

In a couple of weeks, the trees will be bare, I’ll be wearing a winter coat, and there will be green sprouts in the garden. It’s a nice thought. I hope they’ll be ready to harvest before the furry thief discovers them.


  1. I went out and picked the last of my bell peppers and jalapeno’s this morning since we’re supposed to have first frost tonight. My husband makes the best popper’s !! I’m in Maryland.

  2. We had our first big frost last night, so, in anticipation, I covered up all the beautiful lettuces to last maybe for at least another week. Your brussel sprouts look great. Mine aren’t so great, but the broccoli was fabulous this fall.


  3. We have diggers (furry thieves) too. Earlier this year they wiped out all of our beets! We’ll try again next week when our winter garden goes in. We must cage everything. At any given time/season, our garden looks like vegetable prison.

  4. What a great idea! I should plant some turnips next year…I hear they’re good for sheep!

    If you keep “rumen buffer” available free-choice for your goats, you’ll find that bloat is no longer an issue.

  5. Question from the plant science challanged here. I understand how the cold frame works during the day with the sun out but what keeps the plants alive during the night? I would think it would get below freezing in the cold frame.

    • It’s not going to work in the dead of winter – too cold, but it gives you an extended growing season for cold-tolerant plants in the fall and early spring. At least that’s what I hear. I’m eager to try it out.

  6. How clever you are. You remind me of my husband, he always has the best ideas.