How to Build a Cold Frame Garden Bed

February 21, 2020Katie
How to Build a Cold Frame Garden Bed - Dishin & Dishes

I have always wanted to learn about how to build and grow in a cold frame garden bed.

Last year that dream became a reality when Mr. Wonderful added the top frame on one of our regular garden raised beds. Let me show you how he did it.

Here is what our raised beds look like.

raised garden beds

I wish I had all the room in the world like my sweet friend Marie at the Lazy W but I absolutely LOVE our raised beds!

By the way, in case you’re wondering -the red structure on the sides and overhead is for when the heat hits in Oklahoma in July through September. We attach 50-50 garden shade fabric over the top to help prevent scorching and help ease the temperatures.

We also use it to tie twine up to because we grow our tomatoes vertically (click here to read about that!).

Here in Oklahoma, our winters can be pretty mild and lettuce has been known to kind of hang tough and live through them in the garden, but plenty of times, the cold stunts them and they just stop. So I got this idea that if I could have a cold frame, or a somewhat insulated covered garden bed, that I could have lettuce and greens or even carrots, radishes and other cold weather crops all winter.

grow lettuce in cold frame

I was right! (This photo was taken at the end of January).

I’ve already showed you how we grow lettuce (click here for the tutorial).

Now let me show you how Mr. Wonderful added a lid to our existing raised bed to make a cold frame!

how to build a cold frame bed

First off he put an angled board on each side so that the rain or moisture runoff would slope downward and not accumulate on top.

raised garden bed instructio

Then he put a straight board at the back to keep that elevation up.

how to build a cold frame

Then he built the top frame as a rectangle that fit the bed. Next he stretched heavy duty plastic fabric across the top of this rectangle (bought from the tractor supply) and stapled it on.  He then screwed narrow pieces of wood around it with 2 cross pieces for stability.

build a cold frame garden bed

He did NOT put a piece across the front edge however.

grow in a cold frame

He attached the top with four hinges at the back.

how to grow in a cold frame

And at the front, he put a turn knob with wood to hold it closed.

Cold frame garden bed

We just rotate it to open.

The great thing about the bed is we can open it on nice sunny days.

How to Build a Cold Frame Garden Bed - Dishin & Dishes

But we can keep it closed on cold days or close it at night when the temperatures drop too low.

How to Build a Cold Frame Garden Bed - Dishin & Dishes

And we only need to water it about once a week, because the water condensates on the lid and drips back down.

I direct sowed seed into and we now have a bumper lettuce crop going!

Spring Mix.

I’ve even planted more kale – look at those babies I need to thin out!

So there you have it! Our inexpensive cold frame lid. It’ll bring us greens all year around!

We are excited enough about it that we think we’ll do another one next fall!

How to Build and Grow in a Cold Frame Garden Bed - Dishin & Dishes


  • lazyw

    February 22, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    I have four raised beds that would be perfect for this. Thank you for sharing the details. And your greens look so luscious!!
    1. Katie

      February 22, 2020 at 3:11 pm

      Lazyw- yes! So rewarding ! Hope it works for you!!!

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