Cold Frames


Fall is officially here in Alabama. And while the temperatures are not cold yet (remember we are in Alabama and cold is relative) the leaves have turned and the days are noticeably shorter.

We have lettuces, brussel sprouts, and some braising greens growing in one of our ten by ten beds but we’d really like to extend our growing season and keep fresh produce coming into the house year round. Enter the cold frame.

If you’re not familiar, a cold frame is a mini green house. Usually it’s a smallish box with an glass top that can be adjusted to vent out air and control temperature.

I’m in the middle of constructing mine now.

Stephanie had found, through four glass shower doors. All we needed to do was come pick them up.

Sunday morning Bronwyn, Olive and I loaded up in the truck and headed out to Mulga, Alabama to pick up the doors. The trip took a little longer than it should have because we missed a vital turn but luckily Wayne, our shower door benefactor, was looking out for us.

About an hour after my initial call he called to find out where I was.

“How many lanes are you on?”


“Oh, you’ve gone too far.”

With his advice and Bronwyn girling the GPS on my phone we made Wayne’s house in short order.

I guess it’s my grandfather in me, but I love making things out of nothing. But I’ve learned over the years to never look a gift horse in the mouth and that you frequently get what you pay for. Glass shower doors are not exactly the pinnacle of high bathroom design. These fell even shorter. They’ll do the job, of course, and I’ll use them because, well, they’re free, but they are, shall we say, a little “rednecky.”

Two of the doors are frosted with rectangular designing reminiscent of the finest bar area in your nicer mobile homes. The other two feature white silhouettes of some rather regal looking swans. Maybe off set with framing built from oak boards scavenged from pallets they’ll look fine.

Over the rest of the week I managed to score some other free construction materials.

On Tuesday Samantha and I walked past Independent Presbyterian Church which is undergoing some renovations. The dumpster was full of half sheets of 3/8 inch plywood and there were several wall sections framed out of 2x4s that were being thrown away. I took a minute to ask permission and then scurried back to my truck to load up what I could get. My neighbor was throwing away an old window, so I snagged it and a friend of Stephanie’s brought by some French doors. I’m now overloaded with materials and the junk man in me is brimming with joy. So much utility for so little cost!

I can’t wait for the weekend and getting to work on the cold frames again. Temperatures have dropped over the last two nights and my backyard is starting to look like Fred Sanford’s.

As understanding as she is, Samantha’s patience does have its limits.

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