Tag Archives: recycle

Cold Frame

For Mother’s Day, Anna had 1 request: “build a cold frame for my plants before you leave town.”  Well since I was leaving town on Monday, that didn’t leave much time to get the project designed, built, and installed.

A cold frame is like a small greenhouse.  It is designed to be a transition area for plants.  Since Anna had been growing seedlings in the basement, she needed somewhere to move them outside to get sunlight during the day, but be protected from the cold at night.

Previously, in anticipation of this project, Anna had picked up 2 skylights off freecycle.  She removed all the aluminum flashing and some of the operating hardware.  This reduced the weight (a little) and made it possible to operate them by hand.  I already had some pallets with OSB mounted on the sides from a hay feeder design last winter.  We didn’t plan to reuse that feeder again, but I had saved the panels for a future project like this.  I basically built a large box to support the skylights at a slight angle.  We dug out the area for the cold frame to be installed and connected all the walls together.  Once the top windows were on, we loaded the bottom of the cold frame with compost that was about 6 months old.  This compost still has some decomposing going on, so that provides the heat inside the box at night to prevent frost damage to the young plants.  Anna put weed cloth over the compost base and then added the plants.  During the day the windows are propped open, and at night they are closed.

After a little over a week in the cold frame, Anna has started to move the plants into the garden. (That is a rhubarb plant that she is standing next to, not a sapling.)  Anna got her Mother’s Day wish and it only took about 3 hours to build.



While we love to expand the farm, we try to do it on a budget.  We have been focusing on recycling materials as much as possible.  Why buy new, when you can find it used?  Why buy used, if you can recycle something for free?  Anna watches freecycle and I watch craigslist.  Last weekend, I picked up 28 sheets of 1/2″ OSB for $100 from CL.  I have found sources for 55 gal plastic barrels that just need to be washed out.  There is a moving company that loves to give me a full truck load of pallets.  Using pallets as the base for projects allows me to use the tractor with forks to move things around the farm.  If you aren’t picky about paint colors, check the OOPS paint at Lowe’s or Home Depot for $5 gallons of exterior paint.

This 4×6 goat shelter cost me less than $10 which was the paint and 3 new 2x4s that I needed.  Everything else was free (except the nails that I already had). This took about 8 hours to build.  The entire series of pictures can be seen here:


Goat Shelter

Here is the main shelter for our goats.  It is a 10’x10′ Shelter Logic garage.  I made a floor and walls out of recycled pallets.


Finally, goats have to eat hay.  Here is a hay feeder that I built using left over pieces of fence panels and a free plastic barrel.