7 Ways How to Build a Cold Frame Greenhouse

7 Ways How to Build a Cold Frame Greenhouse

Learn How-to Build a DIY Cold Frame Greenhouse using 7 Different Frame Plans

Cold frame greenhouses are excellent for those that want to grow plants over winter, and you’ll find that building your own cold frame, will be a cheaper option than buying one!

It’s important, to do you’re research before you purchase or build a greenhouse (Source: Gardening.About.com), so we’ve assembled this guide to help you do just that.


It’s surprisingly easy and simple to build your own DIY cold frame greenhouse, so here are 7 ways to build your own simple cold frame green house:

  1. Window A-Frame – Got two old windows that are no longer in use? A simple cold frame (Source: Extension.Missouri.edu) green house can be built by connecting the two windows with a pair of hinges to form an A-Frame (Source: Ohioline.OSU.Edu). Use wooden posts to hold the center of the A-frame in place, and place bales of hay around the open sides of the frame, to prevent too much of the cold, from getting into the cold frame. You’ll have to grow plants that are hardier and able to handle the cold weather, but it will be a quick, cheap, and easy cold frame to throw up. Here is an example of a single window cold frame (SourceUrbanFarmOnline.com).
  2. Wooden BoxBuilding a wooden box for your cold frame (Source: BHG.com), will be very easy. Simply screw long 1″ x 8″ boards to 2″ x 4″ beams – which will serve as the corner posts. You can make a simple frame in just a few minutes, and you can make a frame for the lid using just 2″ x 2″ boards. Tack or staple plastic sheeting onto the lid, and use a pair of hinges to attach the lid to the frame. Dig about 6 inches into the ground, and install the frame in the ground. Fill the 6 inches with gravel, and pour about 6 inches of soil on top of the rocks to provide planting ground.
  3. Hen Coop Frame – If you have an old hen coop, you can use it as a cold frame (Source: Wikipedia.org) greenhouse. Simply remove the roof from the house, and build a frame for the lid of the box using lumber. You can use clear plastic or glass for the lid of the house, and attach it to the frame with hinges. Insert cardboard into the house to prevent the soil from falling through the chicken wire, and encircle the exterior of the frame with plastic to trap the temperature inside.
  4. Trunk Frame – If you have an old wooden trunk, you can turn it into a nifty cold frame (SourceMotherEarthNews.com), in just a few minutes. Use a screwdriver to remove the hinges from the lid, and take the lid off the trunk. Use a saws-all to cut the bottom out of the trunk, and do the same for the top of the lid. Dig a hold about 1 foot into the soil, and add a 6″ layer of gravel. Place the trunk into the hole, and fill it with 6 inches of soil. Use clear plastic sheeting as the transparent lid of the trunk, and re-connect the hinges to make your cold frame complete.
  5. PVC Frame – If you don’t want to spend a fortune, you can make a cheap hoop house (Source: DoorGarden.com) greenhouse using PVC piping. Simply use PVC pipe lengths, corner joints, and PVC glue to make a simple rectangular solid, and bury the bottom 6 inches in soil. Use clear plastic as the walls and the lid, and staple a wooden board to one end of the plastic used as the lid. The weight of the board will ensure that the plastic stays in place, but you can easily open your clear frame when you want to access the plants, if you run into problems fastening the plastic to the greenhouse visit this popular forum thread (SourceGardenWeb.com).
  6. Hay Bale Cold Frame – For this cold frame, you’ll need about six tightly bundled bales of hay. Dig a 6-inch deep rectangular hole in the ground to the desired size of your cold frame, and fill the hole with gravel. Place the bales of hay around the hole, and add the six inches of soil back into the cold frame. Cover it with an old window, or stretch clear plastic onto a simple PVC or wooden frame.
  7. Hoop Frame – You will need some old conduit piping, which will serve as the frame of the greenhouse. Bury one end of the pipe into the ground, and bend it over to form a hoop frame (Source: Laspilitas.com). You can add as many ribs of the frame as you want, and you can make it as long as you want. Simply run clear plastic over the top of the frame, and use staples to attach the plastic to the ribs and ends of the frame.
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Additional Recommended Resources:

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This post was written by:

EarthCare Greenhouses - who has written 5 posts on EarthCare Greenhouse Gardening Advice Blog.

EarthCare greenhouses is a family owned company based out of Youngsville, Louisiana USA. EarthCare provides extremely unique, high quality, and very affordable hobby greenhouse gardening supplies & accessories, available at retail and wholesale pricing. The company strives to produce a customer and visitor experience, that creates better gardeners and thus better gardens, across the world.

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2 Responses to “7 Ways How to Build a Cold Frame Greenhouse”

  1. Greg Johnson Says:

    I really enjoyed the external references listed in this post, it gave me a pretty good idea of what I needed to do next, to make my new styles of cold frames.

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  2. Alex @ GoGardenGuides.com Says:

    I had never thought of a hay bale constructed greenhouse, that is a very interesting idea & concept. The trunk framed cold frame is another awesome idea, that I think is a perfect DIY job for recycled materials, for the avid do it yourselfer.

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