Whats Growing On: New Cold Frame Greenhouse

by nicole on January 2, 2016

Bows all put together waiting to be installed

This fall I have been building a new greenhouse structure.  This has been way overdue for years.  Now that it’s built I can’t believe I survived with out it–so much space to fill. I can extend my seasons in both the spring and fall.  I wanted to do this for years but this fall I decided it was necessary for my dahlia and lisianthus crops.

Bows up and building end wall

Dahlias are in demand as soon as wedding season starts in June and all through October.   Frost came beginning of October, and I still had a great customer need for them. I just did not have enough for the demand.

End walls complete

As exciting as this new venture is, it’s also a bit intimidating.  The new structure is going to change the timing for planting, and while I can now work with a greater quantity of plants, I will also need to factor in time for the increased supply. There’s going to be a bit of a learning curve.

For spring, I am excited to propagate more heirloom chrysanthemums.

coldframe mums 14 To have a huge beautiful row of spring stock for May and early June. Plenty of room for anemones, ranunculus along with other spring blooming crops. Just finished covering with plastic

In summer, the cold frame will be filled with dahlias and lisianthus, continuing through the fall.   Come fall they will also be joined by celosia, mums, ornamental cutting cabbage, more stock and snapdragons.snaps and dahlias

The thought of seeding and planting sooner is so exciting.

Inside! Time for soil prep.

This 30’x 80′ green house is much larger then  the other 2 we built here.  It took a few months to complete.  As my helpers had other jobs and we would work on our days off. There was dirt work for proper drainage and a level structure. We banged in post holders, put together the bows, purlins, crossbars and many carriage bolts keeping it all together. Building is not my strong suit and I was grateful for knowledgeable help. I was the one walking along the cross bars tightening bolts 12 ft off the ground, feeling a bit like a circus performer.  Putting the plastic on a structure this large is definitely a challenge but we had a beautiful day in November to do it.  Thankfully nobody flew away with a plastic sail in their hands.

dahlias in cold frame 15

A few dahlia plants in our small cold frame October 2015.

Now it’s time to prepare the soil, order seeds and the plugs that will bring this house to life.

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