If you've ever made your own cold-frame, how did you weight it down?

I got an old poly tunnel cover and a lot of light weight 2 by 4 and various scraps and off cuts of wood. I want to make basic cube like cold frames out of all this material. But I just realized I'm basically making kites!

I wonder if making stakes at each corner would be enough? I'm trying to fathom how tent pegs might help... what ideas did you come up with to weight the frame down? Did any of yours blow away?

Any help appreciate. Also I've never made anything out of wood before. If you can think of any typical mistakes I might make, please let me know, thanks!
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  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 4,610
    I bought quite cheap softwood/polycarb cold frames each about 3ft x 2ft located on paving slabs.
    Each frame has a steel strip in 2 corners (diagonally opposite) at the base that keep the base rigid. They're also perfect to lay a house brick (or 2) on. The steel strips also have a hole in them so tent pegs can be used if the frames are on soil.
    I have 3 frames each with a house brick in 2 corners.
    The frames are kept open all over winter unless heavy snow forecast. None of them have moved over the last 2 winters.
    I also used some offcuts to raise the frames by about 1/2" to keep them just off the ground to help prevent them rotting.
    Happy to post a photo if that would help
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Pete.8 said:
    Happy to post a photo if that would help
    That would be so helpful thank you.

    You know I didn't even think about needed to create a hinge lid.. I am so under qualified for this. I think this might end up being a project I laugh about later. Or get laughed AT about later lol :)
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 24,543
    If you're able - it  might be better to make a basic frame with the wood, and use the poly cover in place of glass/polycarbonate. ie - staple a few layers of it onto the wood. You don't need more than basic skills, but it's best to screw the timber pieces onto a post at each corner for the base, to keep it solid. The lid would just be four pieces and screwed together through each corner with the polythene stapled on.
    A lid is the norm, as it allows ventilation as Pete indicates. A few courses of concrete blocks or bricks for the surrounds, and a lid of timber and polythene would possibly be easier. It depends on your skills. 
    Alternatively, you could make them as simple cloches, using your pegs at the corners to fix them, but that makes it harder to give plants ventilation. You'd need to give that some thought. It would be like mini versions of those plastic growhouses which you see everywhere.

    I made a frame with scrap wood and an old window as a lid, but the window was too heavy to be properly useful. I've made them in the past in a similar way, but polythene, in general, is a bit flimsy, so you'll need a couple of layers at least if you go down that route. It also depends how much protection is required for the plants you intend growing :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 4,610
    You know I didn't even think about needed to create a hinge lid.. 
    Maybe it'd be safer to buy one  :smiley:

    Some pics-
    in the 3rd pic you can just about see the frames are slightly off the paving slab to help stop rot




    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Pete.8 said:
    Thank you so much. That is so clever the corners, I never would have thought of that. So simple. If mine turn out half as good as yours I'll be well pleased. Thanks Pete.



  • Fairygirl said:

    I have roped in a couple teenagers who tell me they're good at making things at school.This could turn out brilliant or be a brilliant disaster! I'm watching video after video before I start :) Hopefully it will all work out, I don't mind slightly disheveled looking frames as long as work a little bit.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 4,610
    Good luck and be sure to post some photos of your achievements! 
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 24,543
    Good luck with it - it's always worth trying something. Once you get the hang of it, you can always make more robust, or fancier, ones at a later date.
    You can get sheets of polycarbonate  quite readily, so in the future, you can always try that, and make it easier by cutting the battens to fit the sheets, to save a lot of cutting.   It would last longer than the polythene, and it's not too difficult to work with. A couple of hinges and some screws is all the extra bits you'd need.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 4,610
    A centre strut in the lid is important.
    I had another cold frame with lid that was just a aluminium frame with polycarbonate, it buckled beyond repair after some gusty winds.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 24,543
    Good point Pete. It'll depend on the size and location of the frame too.
    Here, I wouldn't consider making anything that wasn't pretty robust to start with!  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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