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Plant nursery

Keep plants protected and strike successful cuttings over the cooler months with this easy-to-make cold frame.

Make an cold frame plant nursery.
Keep plants protected

You will need:

  • Approximately 16.3m of 50mm x 25mm timber* cut to the following lengths:
    • 1600mm (x 7), 300mm (x 4), 800mm (x 2), 450mm (x 2), 550mm (x 2)
  • 25mm exterior screws, 50mm galvanised nails, 75mm exterior screws
  • Craft knife, drill with 3mm drill bit, 2 x exterior hinges, greenhouse plastic
  • Hammer, paint stirrer, paintbrush, pencil, sandpaper, saw, screwdriver, staple gun with galvanised staples
  • Resene Waterborne Woodsman tinted to resene Grey Green.

Top tip: Use an offcut of 50mm x 25mm timber to prop the lid open on warmer days or to allow air to circulate.

To get the look: Mark painted the background stucco wall with Resene AquaShield tinted to Resene Pipi. *We used reclaimed, untreated, rough-sawn pine in this project.

Here's another idea: This cold frame could also be used as a cloche in winter, placed directly over frost-tender plants during the coldest months.

As seen in kiwigardener

Step 1 Step one
Measure, mark and cut the 50mm x 25mm timber to the lengths listed above and smooth any rough edges with sandpaper.
Step 3 Step two
Attach the four 300mm lengths to the two 800mm lengths, as shown. Fix each joint with two 75mm screws, drilling pilot holes first.
Step 4 Step three
In the same way, fix each of  the two 550mm lengths of timber to the centre of the 800mm lengths, as shown. These will form the side walls of the cold frame.
Step 4 Step four
Lay a spare piece of 50mm x 25mm across one of the side walls, as shown, and rule two cutting lines. Lay a second piece across the other side and, once again, rule two cutting lines.
Step 5 Step five
Using the ruled lines as a guide, cut the pieces of timber to required size and smooth any rough edges with sandpaper.
Step 6 Step six
Attach these two pieces, as shown, to form one complete side wall using two 75mm exterior screws on each joint. Again, drill pilot holes first. repeat steps four to six to form the second side wall.
Step 7 Step seven
Form the base of the cold frame by attaching two of the 1600mm lengths of timber to the lower front and lower back corners of the side walls. Fix these with two 75mm screws at each joint, drilling pilot holes first. Fix three 1600mm lengths of timber into position, as shown, using 50mm galvanised nails.
Step 8 Step eight
Fix the remaining 1600mm lengths of timber to the two 450mm lengths of timber to form the cold frame lid. Use two 50mm galvanised nails at each joint. Ensure that you leave a 10mm overlap along the top edge of the cold frame lid, as shown (8b right).

Handy hint: We used exterior screws on some of the joints to provide extra strength and nails on the others, however, you could use exterior screws on all the joints – just ensure you always drill pilot holes first to prevent the wood from splitting.

Step 9 Step nine
With the 10mm overlap running along the apex of the cold frame, fix the lid to the main frame using the hinges and 25mm screws.
Step 10 Step ten
Carefully stir the resene Waterborne Woodsman tinted to resene Grey Green.
Step 11 Step eleven
Apply two coats of resene Grey Green to the cold frame, allowing two hours for each coat to dry.
Step 12 Step twelve
Fix the greenhouse plastic to the wooden frame using galvanised staples.
Detail Finished detail

Words and photos by Mark Rayner

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