Great big cold frames …

… and what they cost to renovate.

We inherited this when we ‘moved in’ to 201. And, next to our ‘Swiss Chalet’ shed, it’s been our favourite new toy. A cold frame – lovely!

We’re still not entirely sure what we’re going to do with it because we’ve never had one before. But we knew what we had to do to it, if you take my meaning.

It had to be painted, well repainted. The lids had to be rehung but before that, they had to be repaired and the glass had to be cleaned. There should have been a central strut supporting the cold frame but there wasn’t so it had bowed both back to front, side to side and (annoyingly) both ends to middle. It wasn’t perceptible to the naked eye but when you tried to level it to the soil, you couldn’t, nothing was quite square, or true or flat.

By this time, I was starting to think our new toy was a blithering nuisance. So on Sunday, while I weeded the strawberry bed, Tony spent: the whole day, a tin of paint, several metres of weed-suppressing membrane and a couple of bags of gravel, creating this.

Much better. Now we only have to finish the lids and we’ll have a cold frame to be proud of.

But we’ve still got no idea what to do with it …

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Blogger Mark Hubbard said...

While on a business trip last week, a client (friend - all my clients are friends by now), gave me five 'drunken lettuce' seedlings. That's what she calls them, and she know no other name: I can't find nothing on Google under that reference.

They only have two little leaves each, green with a red twinge, so I won't know what they look like until they grow bigger, but have you heard of a drunken lettuce? Have to say, sounds right up my ally. I've planted them next to the garlics, now looking pretty good. The same lovely lady gave gave me six broccoli seedlings, which are also now planted.

I think a bit of a drive this weekend, for meal out, plus I want to get some red pepper seedlings.

November 19, 2008 at 11:44 PM  
Blogger Claire said...

Hope you don't mind me picking your brains but I was wondering if you have experience of polytunnels.

We have been considering getting one for over year now but are still trying to weigh up the cost/space/benefits.

To what extent in your experience do they extend the growing season? Ideally I'm looking to be cropping in witer - and not just the odd extra hardy winter veg if you know what I mean.

Any thoughts would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

November 21, 2008 at 5:39 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Mark - it's almost certainly the lettuce that is botanically known as Lactuca sativa. It's an italian lettuce in origin and the common name translates as 'Drunk Woman'. It should end up with bronzed edged frizzy leaves and the good news is it's very slow to bolt.

Claire - a bit of mixed experience to be honest. They do extend the growing season, or rather for us, they bring it forward, but if you live somewhere windy, the constant repairing of ripped panels and worry about flapping bits and pieces and whether it's going to take off in the night and end up on next door's plot ... well to be honest, that's why we've gone for a proper greenhouse in the garden at home.

November 22, 2008 at 4:33 AM  
Blogger Claire said...

That's a good point - we live on the top of a very windy hill!

November 22, 2008 at 10:17 AM  

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