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Cold Frame

greenhouse cold frame

I built a Shade Frame (Article Here) to cover my Friendly Aquaponics Micro 64/128 4’x8′ raft. The idea is that I could cover it with shade cloth to protect the plants from being cooked in the long hot summers of North Texas.

Shade Frame Over Raft

It worked well, despite being a mental challenge to learn how to use a pipe bender to make duplicate curved shapes!

The frame is composed of 11 pieces of 10′  long 1/2″ conduit, some conduit butt  joiners, EMT “U” straps, end cap plugs, and sheet metal screws. The result is a very light, sturdy, weather proof frame, that I can slide on and off of my 4’x8′ raft. Zip ties were used to hold the shade cloth on the frame permanently. As you can see from the picture, the shade cloth is only about 30%-40% blocking of the sun light.

When bad weather like winds and driving rain hit, I put it over the raft. It helped a little but the shade cloth was too porous to keep the wind out. Perhaps if  I had covered the sides to the ground and doubled the thickness, it would have worked better.

To better protect the plants from weather and cold temperatures, I covered it with 6 mil plastic from Home Depot.

greenhouse cold frame sealed

I used a set of 22 each, 1″ spring clamps I bought on sale at Harbor Freight for like $4-$5, to hold the end pieces of plastic in place.

Clamps 7-8 in

To hold the top piece of plastic I used four 1 & 1/2″ spring clamps near the bottom “corners”. This allows me to remove the ends and keep the top and sides covered.

Spring Clamp 1-1_2 in

I just left the bottom of the plastic long and tucked it under the EMT conduit bottom of the frame. When you pull it tight and clamp it with the larger spring clamps, it tends to stay in place. If you want a better way to attache the bottom you could use these Snap clamps.

Snap Clamp 1-2 in

 

 

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