We've had a pretty mild winter here in Northern California with only about 2 inches of rain in January. So we've been itching to get into the garden. Unfortunately with our sloping lot, the yard is a cold dark place during the winter. We thought we'd do something about it and decided to build a cold frame for the raised beds.
Our idea was to cover half the bed with a removable frame that could also be placed over the compost in the summer to speed decomposition with a little heat.
The materials were fairly inexpensive. Some (fir I believe) strapping, brackets, screws, staples and a painters plastic drop cloth.
Well I've got to say the results have been a huge success. Our lettuce (Grand Rapids) sprouted and we even harvested our first head yesterday. Is it really February? I even became bold enough to plant tomato seeds (Roma and Stupice) in front, after I placed a Thermometer inside the frame and it showed the temp at 82 degrees. Perhaps that was wishful thinking, but if I fail I've only lost the cost of a few seeds.