This weekend I built a cold frame over a third of my primary raise bed. I’m going to get a jump on my tomatoes even though Chicago highs will stay in the 40s or 50s for another 2 to 3 weeks.
It is pretty basic, a PVC frame, and some 6mil clear tarp held on with packing tape and spring clamps.
I wasn’t shooting for perfect; rather, barely good enough and quickly built was the goal. I have a remote thermometer set up to monitor it and today, on day one, while outdoor temperature was 56, inside the cold frame wad a balmy 78. I could stick my hand in and feel the difference immediately. The soil is already noticeably warmer than that which is just outside the plastic shed.
Tomorrow I’ll be planting some seeds and hoping for the best. My only fear now is that a strong Windy City gust wipes out my little plant shelter.