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Coldframes as summer beds for flowers, vegetables.

On center stage in early spring, most coldframes wind up on the back lot--empty--by June. But it doesn't have to be that way. Good coldframes have excellent soil, optimum exposure to the sun, and the good looks, usually, of a raised bed. With the top removed and the right plants inside, they can add much to your summer landscape.

Here's how three gardeners planted their coldframes; there's something to learn from each.

Barbara Allen uses the large plastic coldframes in her garden--shown at upper left--as dividers, containers, and shelters. They corral rambling cucumbers and are high enough that when first fall frosts strike, lids can be put on over frost-tender tomatoes, basil, and peppers. These neat garden dividers are in use all summer long, giving this vegetable plot an everything-in-its-place look.

In Lyle Winkel's garden (upper right), the best exposure is on the deck, so that's where the heated coldframe sits. It's a nursery for vegetables and flowers through May; then Mr. Winkel removes the heating cable and replants with enough flowers to fill the frame and spill over the sides. With the coldframe's vaulted plastic top removed, this planter full of color gives no hint of its former life.

Ethel Stave also turns her conventional coldframes into flower boxes in late spring, as shown n the photograph at right. Because such extended use of the frames depletes the soil, Mrs. Stave fills them with leaves after frost knocks down the flowers in fall, letting them compost over winter. By spring, when the coldframes are ready to plant again, the leaves are usually fully composted and can be dug in to enrich the soil before planting for the following season.
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Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jun 1, 1984
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