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Extend the growing season with a cold frame

Stretch the growing season in fall and spring with this versatile, easy-to-build, modular box

Cold frames are useful things for gardeners to have on hand. They enable you to grow plants that wouldn’t normally do well in your area and to start seeds and raise seedlings early. You can use them to protect tender plants well into fall and even to force bulbs—such as tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and crocuses—during the winter months.

The design of this cold frame includes the conventional salvaged wooden storm window top. But what sets it apart is its system of booster frames, which allows you to adjust the height of the cold frame to suit the needs of your plants. By adding booster frames beneath the main frame, even mature plants can be shielded from frosts. For durability, make the frames from 1 x 8 cedar boards.

Download the cold frame project plans!

Materials list

Cold frame (cedar is suggested for all wooden components):

Component: Dimensions, quantity

Glazed frame top: 1 salvaged window
Main frame sides/back: 3⁄4'' x 7 1⁄2'', 3
Main frame front: 3⁄4'' x 3 1⁄2'', 1
Booster sides/front/back: 3⁄4'' x 5 1⁄2'', 4
Corner posts: 1 1⁄2'' x 1 1⁄2'', 8
Pivoting lid supports: 3⁄4'' x 1 1⁄2'' x 8'', 2


Component: Dimensions, quantity

Galvanized flathead screws    #10 x 1 1⁄2''
Window hinges: 3'' T-style with mounting screws, 2
Galvanized bolts: 5⁄16'' dia. x 2 1⁄4'', 2
Galvanized flat washers: 5⁄16'' dia., 4
Galvanized nuts: 5⁄16'' dia., 4
Window latches: hook-and-eye sets, 2
Window chain and screws: Brass 48'', 1
Window handle: corrosion-resistant, 1

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