Building a Brick Cold Frame for Maple Seedlings

Messages
3
Reaction score
0
With winter approaching Michigan, I need to build a cold frame for my maple seedlings. I have some resources for building one, but I still have some questions. Mostly, I'm wondering if anyone has plans for building a cold frame out of bricks as opposed to wood. It's not that wood is impossible, I just have a ton of bricks and have nothing to do with them.
I was also wondering if how to take care of the plants in the cold frame. Do you water them in the cold frame? Also, the most convenient place to build it is on the side of a house where it would almost never get direct sunlight. Is this okay for my seedlings?
 

Bonsai Nut

Nuttier than your average Nut
Messages
9,540
Reaction score
18,021
Location
Charlotte area, North Carolina
USDA Zone
8a
When you say "bricks" do you mean dry-stacking bricks? Or are you considering building a brick structure? As far as your other questions:

(1) You just want to make sure the soil doesn't dry out. You can open it up and dump snow in it every now and then. Snow is also a great insulator.
(2) You don't need (or want) direct sunlight because it can get too hot. Your maple seedlings will be dormant anyway so they won't know the difference. I've over-wintered bonsai in an un-heated garage before where they were in more or less complete darkness for several months straight (in Chicago).
(3) Just make sure there is good drainage out the bottom so you don't create a pond.
 
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
I mean I have what must be half a pallet of red mason bricks and I'd rather use them than go out and buy some plywood. I've heard it's possible to build a cold frame out of bricks, but the instruction I saw for that were very vague.
Actually, just now, I came across this website that has much more detailed designs. Using this as a template, can anyone point out anything else I would need to take into account?
 

gergwebber

Shohin
Messages
398
Reaction score
9
Location
Davis, CA
USDA Zone
9
1) search your local glass/window store for large glass pieces like a sliding glass door or glass shower door that is of a good size(3'x6' or bigger) or really nice windows of the same size.
*you can usually find it cheap or free if that matters to you:confused:
*try to get a tempered shower door( unless struck on the edge they are very very tough)

2)build your base to fit the glass you find.
*put a garden hose or plumbed line under the foot first
*build a wood frame to hold the glass on a hinge and it is easier to make the angled edge of the detailed design out of wood(i dont have a wet saw or the skill to cut a brick with a chisel)

3)I say dry stack at first
*dab a little gorilla glue on the corners and dry stack the rest.
* you really don't know if you will like the set up unless you try it out for a season or two and a dry stack will be easy to change or take down.

http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=180169 a forum about such from those who know waaaay more than I ever could

http://www.inspiremeheather.com/2011/03/project-greenhouses-recycled-glass.html cool found glass green houses

http://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/3-easy-diy-greenhouses-under-300.html

4)consider a low hip wall of brick and a lean to green house on the wall(especially if its a masonry wall) this will give a good deal of space for more seeds and more seeds and more...
 

Bill S

Masterpiece
Messages
2,494
Reaction score
21
Location
Western Massachusetts
USDA Zone
5a
Skip the glass, it actually lets in the light and that warms the cold frame. Opaque or white cover is best for light rejection.

I know evergreens, but think about how many places young ones are covered by snow all winter. If they are anywhere near 32 degrees, they are dormant, and really don't miss the sun. If you want some light in there, use opaque plastic stretched across a frame of some kind.

Bnuts offering is good info.
 

Alex DeRuiter

Chumono
Messages
965
Reaction score
8
Location
Grand Rapids, MI
USDA Zone
5b
I was told that even conifers don't need light in the winter as they're in a state of dormancy as well. I don't think there is any photosynthetic activity while they're dormant, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

I remember speaking with Brent Walston about the issue of light in winter as well and he shared an article with me that said if the temperature is low enough light is actually harmful...but I'm not sure to what degree that is.

But yeah, go with opaque. I overwintered all my conifers in the garage last year and they're doing quite well.

Also, I should mention that Peter Tea mentioned something in his blog about insufficient light with Japanese black pines in winter may lead to needle sunburn when the tree is actively growing. I have not researched this at all, but it is interesting.
 

Bill S

Masterpiece
Messages
2,494
Reaction score
21
Location
Western Massachusetts
USDA Zone
5a
ALex, I think what Peter is talking about is using care w/ the pines , and put them back into the light gradually rather than here you go from the dark to the bright light.
 

Alex DeRuiter

Chumono
Messages
965
Reaction score
8
Location
Grand Rapids, MI
USDA Zone
5b
That makes sense. It might even be necessary -- especially with show/sale trees -- to put them outside throughout the winter for some sun exposure to prevent sunburn. I don't know if sunburn could compromise the health of the tree significantly or not, but at the very least it would keep them pretty. ;-p

Here's a quote from Peter: "Normally Pine needles don’t get sun burnt unless they are protected from the sun for an extended period of time."
 

gergwebber

Shohin
Messages
398
Reaction score
9
Location
Davis, CA
USDA Zone
9
I recommended glass because it is also useful during spring and fall when you do need light(tomatoes anyone?). The cold frame is a great tool year round. Plus glass lasts forever. But I would also recommend plastic and the even better(here in mild california) the opaque permeable row cover because it lets in mild light and water. But if you have to deal with snow glass is good option and you can find it in opaque. If you use the softer covers and expect snow, you need it stretched over a decent wood frame, or over a tight fence material to prevent bowing


weren't we talking about maples?
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom