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Polycarbonate Cold Frames & Greenhouses: Which is Right For You?

polycarbonate panels greenhouseYou’ll find greenhouses and cold frames in pretty much every climate, helping protect plants from extreme heat and extreme cold.

Which option is right for your backyard? They both come with advantages and disadvantages.

Cold frames are transparent, low-to-the-ground enclosures used to protect plants from adverse weather while also allowing them to receive sunlight. They are essentially a miniature greenhouse, and were in fact first built to be used in addition to a heated greenhouse.

Polycarbonate cold frames are especially useful in situations where greenhouses aren’t an option due to cost or lack of space. Cold frames can also be moved around your property to spots – places with more shade or more sun — that are suitable for growing a particular plant.

Polycarbonate Cold Frames

You’ll find them useful in every season:

  • Spring/Summer – Cold frames can help you harden off tender plants. Think of them as a way station between a greenhouse and the harsher environment of your garden.
  • Autumn – Cold frames can help protect cuttings and younger plants from cooler weather and the first – mild frosts of the year.
  • Winter – Polycarbonate cold frames can protect alpine plants from rain and prevent them from rotting, and to shield young annual plants. You can install a layer of plastic inside the frame for additional protection against frost and drafts. Just keep in mind that this plastic will reduce light and ventilation.

While cold frames have their benefits, remember that greenhouses still provide a better growing environment as the conditions inside are easier to manage. There’s more air, and this air acts as a buffer and lowers fluctuations in humidity and temperature.

Polycarbonate Greenhouses

Green houses come in a few varieties:

  • Cold houses – Designed to extend the growing season by allowing spring crops to start earlier and fall crops to grow a bit longer.
  • Cool houses – These houses will keep temperatures above freezing so that plants that would otherwise die in extreme cold can continue to thrive.
  • Warm houses – Allows a broader range of plants to make it through the winter.
  • Hot houses – These houses need additional heat to function, and are used to maintain tropical plants.

Using a greenhouse has a number of advantages:

  • You’ll be able to grow fresh fruits and vegetables year round and have fresh cut flowers any time of year, and have a place to keep plants safe.
  • You can grow things you might otherwise not be able to grow in your garden, such as tropical fruits or exotic flowers.
  • There’s less worry about insect infestations feasting on your flowers or your local deer population eating your vegetables.
  • You can add visual flair to your property and have a warm, cozy escape from the cold outdoors.

But keep in mind:

  • A greenhouse requires constant care and maintenance.
  • You’ll need to pay to heat it, keep it lit and to water the plants.
  • It will take up space in your yard.

Whether you think a greenhouse works for your yard or you think a cold frame is a better option, H&F Manufacturing can help.

We carry several models of greenhouses with a number of different features to help your next planting project succeed.

And if you decide a greenhouse isn’t right for your property, know that we also carry a wide variety of durable polycarbonate cold frames to let you get a jump on the growing season.

Contact us today, and we’ll get to work on improving your gardening experience.