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Is it much harder to grow cold frame seedlings than under lights?

14 years ago

I don't have room indoors to start plants under lights. Between me and 2 friends, we have a very nice selection of vegetable seeds. All 3 of us are just getting back into our homes since hurricane Katrina destroyed them. We have no sheds or garages to put seedlings under lights.

We can however, put together a really nice cold frame (outside) with our leftover lumber and some poly film.

According to most of the info on the internet, "they" say, in order to prevent frying the seedlings, to open the top of the cold frame on those days when the temperature outdoors gets near 50 degrees. Heck, down here, near New Orleans, it hardly ever gets LOWER than 50 degrees during daytime.

So, if I put tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, cantaloupes etc in a cold frame with the daytime temps in the 50 to 60 degree range, will they germinate and grow rapidly enough and strong enough?

We were considering using, on our cold frame lid, one of those devices that automatically open and close the vents on greenhouses. We hoped it would open the lid before the temperature rose to the danger point and, close the lid on those occasions when the temps drop. Would it respond quickly enough to avoid damage?

Please share any advice on starting seed in a cold frame since, this will be our first attempt at this.

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