Hay-Bale Cold Frames

April 13, 2011

in DIY & Crafts, Gardening


It is no secret I am not much of a gardener. I just don’t have the knack for it. But other people in my family do. That’s the only way stuff gets grown around here.


This early in the year, they like to plant things inside homespun cold frames, which are basically crude structures of four hay bales placed side by side and filled with dirt to become sort of protected raised beds.


(Josie likes adding a personal touch.)


We then cover them with old windows overnight to protect the seeds (and, later, seedlings) from the night chill. If the day is nice, we remove the windows during the day (which it is the case most days) so the plants don’t overheat and die. It is for this reason that we are always on the lookout for old discarded windows by the roadside. Or we were once, anyway.


Then we they plant seeds in them. This year they planted lettuce, spinach, peas, and radishes – in other words, some of the foods you want to be growing early, while it is still relatively cool, because they don’t do very well in the heat.



And then you water them.


And then you play inside a wheelbarrow – the finest thing to play in, if you ask my five-year-old.


1 AmberLee April 17, 2011 at 12:59 am

Wow, love all your beautiful pics!

I am with you, I am no good at gardening. But I have to tell you, after reading this post, I am genuinely excited about gardening, for the first time in forever! We have a stack of old windows on our property that we’ve never managed to do anything with. Now they have a job.

Your kiddos are adorable, btw.

2 Sofya April 17, 2011 at 8:44 am

Thanks for stopping by! I love your site. It got pretty cold here in the past couple of days (like, really cold and snow and freezing), and now I hope everything is still OK under that glass.

3 Diana@Spain in Iowa April 20, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Love this Sofya! What a perfect frugal cold frame. Your kids are so adorable!!!

4 Sofya April 20, 2011 at 6:01 pm


5 Rachelle May 9, 2012 at 10:05 am

I found you by Googling “planting potatoes in WI”. I, too, have found this Wisconsin spring weather frustrating and did not get the taters in the ground yet. (Well, that an a tempermental rototiller, but we won’t go there…). Then I saw your cold frame link. I have windows. I have bales. I never put the two together.

Thank you for all the great ideas, fellow Wisconsin blogger. I will continue to stop by for more genius ideas and photography.

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