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Cold Frame or Cat Sauna?

March 30th, 2011

A few years ago Mr Chiots and I built a cold frame for the garden. It’s really nice, but it doesn’t face south, so it doesn’t get as much sun as it should. But shade loving crops like lettuces overwinter well in it. I also use it for overwintering cuttings and plants I’m trying to propagate. This winter it housed some boxwood cuttings along with some lettuce and spinach.

My cold frame has a very convenient automatic cold frame hinge that opens when it’s warm to keep it from overheating. This is a great feature, I’d highly recommend getting one if you have a cold frame. I like that I don’t have to worry about monitoring the temperature, which is especially nice when I’m not home on a warm day!

I noticed yesterday when I went out that Miss Mama was sleeping in the cold frame. I guess when the lid pops open she heads in there to take a nap. I got a good chuckle out of that, it’s like her own little spa in there. I bet it feels really nice on these cold 30 degree days to sit inside a sunny 75 degree humid cold frame!

Do you have a cold frame, does is have an auto hinge? Do your outdoor animals bring you comic relief?

18 Comments to “Cold Frame or Cat Sauna?”
  1. louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife on March 30, 2011 at 5:40 am

    We had a mini greenhouse at our last house which started as solely for plants but our cats soon realised it was a good place to be – some days we had one cat on each of the two tiers and another on the roof. After losing too many seedlings to trampling, we gave in – removed all the trays and pots, and replaced them with our old sofa cushions. Cat sauna heaven! For a year or so before we moved, a local feral cat started sleeping in there most days – our cats didn’t seem to mind too much and it allowed us to feed/medicate/keep an eye on the feral little guy so it was win-win.

    Funnily enough, on the subject of cold frames, building one is on my to-do list for today. It won’t have an auto-opening arm but I’m around nearly every day anyway. I think if I was going to get one for anywhere, it would be for my greenhouse which does get very warm sometimes.

    Reply to louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife's comment

    • Susy on March 30, 2011 at 7:17 am

      Isn’t funny what we do for our pets!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. nic@nipitinthebud on March 30, 2011 at 5:58 am

    No cold frames or outdoor cats here but favourite sleep spots for our indoor cats include underneath the clothes horse, inside my wardrobe, on top of the radiator and practically on my top of my head during the night! (not all 3 at the same time thankfully!)

    Reply to nic@nipitinthebud's comment

  3. Dave on March 30, 2011 at 8:20 am

    That’s a nice coldframe! What kind of (plastic or glass) covering did you use? I’ve looked into those automatic window openers for my garden shed – I really need to get around to it! Warm temperatures are coming fast.

    Reply to Dave's comment

    • Susy on March 30, 2011 at 9:42 am

      I used the greenhouse polycarbonate panels that have the interior cells. They’re supposed to be more insulating than plain plastic. It is nice, especially since we have a lot of trees around and have lots of falling sticks.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. Lillian on March 30, 2011 at 9:29 am

    This post just totally made me smile:)

    A cold frame is on our list to build for later in the season now, to get ready for fall. I keep adding and adding to my never ending list of things to research, so thanks so much for the tip on the automatic hinge. It never ceases to amaze me how many great ideas exist that I never would have considered without blogs!

    Reply to Lillian's comment

  5. glenda on March 30, 2011 at 9:29 am

    My cats have taken over my cold frame. I’m going to make myself another one and one of the Amish cold frames you shared with us!!! I now know to call my old cold frame the cat sauna!!! Cats are so amazing!! One problem I might encounter is that I have eight cats. I hope they won’t each want a cold frame or cat sauna!!!

    Reply to glenda's comment

    • Susy on March 30, 2011 at 9:43 am

      That would be a lot of cold frames in your garden!

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Amber on March 30, 2011 at 9:48 am

      Where is the link to the Amish cold frame?! Would like to check that out. :)

      Reply to Amber's comment

  6. Ali on March 30, 2011 at 10:39 am

    We have an automatic hinge for ours. I originally used plexiglass, but the panels broke. I now have thick painters plastic covering ours, but what you have looks great. Could you tell me where you found it?

    Here are a few picture of mine:

    Reply to Ali's comment

    • Susy on March 30, 2011 at 11:04 am

      I searched and found a local greenhouse supply, I’m sure Google is the best place to look for your area.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. misti on March 30, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    If we let our cats out I know they would do the same thing! Mine miss having a covered porch to hang out on.

    Reply to misti's comment

  8. Tammy on March 30, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    have to say that just kind of grossed me out! You have food (lettuce/spinach) in there, your cat is laying in there, may even urinate or other in there…… hair all over in there? doesn’t sound pleasant to me!

    I love the idea though.

    Reply to Tammy's comment

    • Susy on March 30, 2011 at 3:33 pm

      She actually lays in the side that doesn’t have food, just boxwood plants. They don’t urinate in there they have a litter box in the garage that they use.

      I’m not much of one to be grossed out by germs. I guess when you’ve grown up in South America and live in a rural area with raccoons and other animals patrolling and eating my gardens and birds pooping on my tomatoes you get used to the idea of animals being around your food. I think it’s better than sewage sludge being used on my food which happens in conventional agriculture.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig on March 30, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Oh my goodness..this is adorable…! Cats are so funny…we’ve got three pets, both indoor and out, and they are a constant source of entertainment..

    My husband built me a cold frame years ago…we had an old window for the lid…but it broke. So now it serves as a place to mix my compost heap!

    Reply to Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig's comment

  10. Christine on March 30, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Ha! That’s awesome. Cats find the best places. Nice to know your cold frame doesn’t point south. I’ve been wanting to build one but we have no south, other than the sidewalk!

    Reply to Christine's comment

  11. Sincerely, Emily on March 30, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Cats – such opportunists at heart. I don’t have a cold frame, but do you plastic hoop covers from time to time when it gets cold in winter. I have found one of our cats under those frequently. I must say the first time I peeled back the cover and saw something move I jumped until I saw who it was. They are just loosely covered on the one end and he can just walk right in…like you mama cat, he was looking for heat (and a bit of privacy too I think). There is always comic relief provided by our cat department. Emily

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

  12. Amy on March 31, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I didn’t even know there was such a thing as an automatic cold frame hinge! That makes me want to build my own cold frame even more, since my biggest concern was being gone all day at work and not being able to adjust the lid appropriately. Woohoo!

    Reply to Amy's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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