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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › using old window panes for cold frame?

using old window panes for cold frame?

Mary
marygee
South Berwick, ME
Post #: 16
Does anyone have experience with this?

I come to this in a round-about sort of way. We just replace some windows (technically, the sashes) in our house because the seal was bad on them, and stuff was starting to grow inbetween the panes. Right now they are sitting in the garage, waiting to go to the dump.

However, I got to thinking, could I just use those for a cold frame? I was looking in my "square foot gardening" book, and it seems like he describes using old single pane windows. Yes, they would be lighter than what I have, but is it possible? Seems a shame to throw them away if I could put them to use.

mary
alder
user 6954726
Sullivan, ME
Post #: 48
hi mary. i have 3 coldframes made with old windows, and they are all single pane. what i did to provide some extra insulation was to tape half of a plastic egg carton onto the middle of each pane, and then tightly stretch plastic over the whole top of the window (plastic leftover from insulating the cabin one winter). this worked well to provide another layer of insulation, the only downfall being that the plastic is delicate and when sweeping snow off of the cold frames i did break the plastic on one of them.

another much simpler coldframe style i have seen is to use straw bales to create walls around the bed you wish to use, and then rest the window on top. i have seen this done with only 3 walls, the front remaining open, and utilized inside a hoophouse to get an early start on spring greens. i'm sure one could play around with this style in various ways.

i'm not sure if your windows are framed, but if so be sure you know what kind of paint is on them. the paint on mine flaked off and got all over the garden and greens, and we were concerned it was lead paint but are pretty sure (!) it's not. so do sand that off as best you can, bc the moisture generated in the coldframe atmosphere will make that paint peel fast.

definitely don't waste those windows... another idea would be to build cloches with them. i have a friend who has been using glass cloches for 30 years, very few have broken and she gets an amazing head start with her corn, squashes, melons using them in the spring.

good luck!
~alder
Mary
marygee
South Berwick, ME
Post #: 17
Hi Alder,

The windows framesdon't have paint, per se, since the house was bulit in 1999, they are some sort of plastic. So, I think I'm ok on that front.

How you describe adding the extra layer of insulation to yours makes me think I'd be fine...I was concerned that the double paned glass (and some "growth" inbetween the panes would make them not as useful.

How does your friend use the window panes for cloches? The only ones that I am familar with are the bell-shaped ones.

mary
alder
user 6954726
Sullivan, ME
Post #: 49
hi mary, my friend doesn't use window panes for cloches, but i was thinking that cloches might be fashioned from what you've got. i was unclear if the panes were framed or not.... if not i was thinking you could either cut the panes to size or make a large cloche/mini greenhouse type of thing.... but it sounds like what you have is perfect for rigging up some coldframes. coldframes really opened my eyes to what is possible during the winter..... i didn't get my act together enough to be actively harvesting during the winter, but what overwintered and instantly took off in early spring was astounding!

but to clarify the cloches my friend has... they are interesting contraptions, with 4 panes of glass resting on a metal frame to form a miniature "house" shape open on either end. the frame is made of some sort of very strong, tough wire (? sorry not quite sure how to describe it) that is ever so slightly flexible. on the top there is a sort of clinch where you can open the top 2 panes (the ones that form the peak of the "house") in order to vent the cloche. since they are open-ended, she sets up several of them in line along her newly seeded corn rows and they shoot up w/ all that heat. at the 2 ends of the row she uses a spare pane of glass to enclose the entire row. she uses a similar technique w/ her squashes and melons. sorry for the garble, i hope this gives you a better idea!
Tree
user 4058763
Hollis Center, ME
Post #: 60
Dear Alder,

Wow! That sounds interesting!
Is there any way you can post some pics of those cloches?

Thanks,
Tree
Beth
BethRich
Cape Elizabeth, ME
Post #: 5
This is a great idea and I have done it before in other gardens- I had begun looking for old windows, so if anyone knows of any or has any in the Portland area, do let me know...so far the dump has not been fruitful!
Beth
Dick H.
user 6105531
Portland, ME
Post #: 10
Check out the book, "Build it better yourself." I built a couple of portable cold frames using old windows. They're great!
Dick
Lubec
alder
user 6954726
Sullivan, ME
Post #: 52
hi tree.... my friend has long since removed her cloches. i googled "glass cloche" and it wasn't until the 8th page that i found anything similar. here are some photos (the 1st one demonstrates the same method my friend uses over her corn). apparently the term for them is "barn cloche" and judging by the websites they are a UK thing.

http://www.hibbitt.co...­
http://www.srgc.org.u...­
http://www.dkimages.c...­

alder
Tree
user 4058763
Hollis Center, ME
Post #: 62
Dear Alder,
I will google barn cloche, then. Thank you for looking them up for me. Those look really useful!

Tree
Mary
marygee
South Berwick, ME
Post #: 18
HI Alder,

Those are some great links! Maybe I'll look into taking the glass out of the frames....I think instead of individual panes, though, they are just one big pane of glass. Still - worth playing around with! Thanks for the suggestions.

mary
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