Just came across the November/December 2002 issue of Organic Gardening, and on pages 34-35 they had plans for the mother of all coldframes. (Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the plans on the Organic Gardening website, so you’ll have to find the issue at a library and photocopy it.) The author, David Wann, and his neighbor designed “a frame that could deliver fresh food straight through our harsh Colorado winter. Our plan of attack was to give it a sheltered spot oriented directly south, sheath it in insulation, sink it several inches below ground level . . . and equip it with thermal mass–basically, water-filled milk jugs–to store solar energy.” The coldframe is built around the dimensions of a discarded sliding glass patio door. This would be more coldframe than some people would want to handle. Those doors are heavy, and even with the suggested pulley system some people might have trouble raising them. Also, you wouldn’t be able to use one of those solar-powered lid-raisers, I don’t think. But those objections aside, this has got to be the most freeze-resistant design I’ve ever seen. If I ever build a coldframe, I will seriously consider this design, although I did kind of have my heart set on one of those lid-raiser thingies . . .
Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.
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