As a kid, I marveled at my mother's greenhouse, which was built entirely out of salvaged windows. Now, her garden has a variety of old windows put to good use
, but I especially like the cold frames—essentially, small greenhouses close to the ground—which are especially good for starting seedlings while winter temperatures linger around. Here's how to make your own. Cold frames are normally built directly on top of the ground, and might be a better fit for a smaller space than, say, a full-on greenhouse. Build a cold frame, plant seeds, watch them sprout, and by the time the weather agrees, you can just remove the window.
Here's another take on the cold frame at Design*Sponge: it's like a tabletop greenhouse, and there are how-to instructions to build your own similar model at Instructables.
One more in-depth look at cold frames can be found at Mother Earth News: how they benefit the garden and how to go about constructing one. The author even reports that she and her husband build a raised bed, topped with an old shower door, and had a winter harvest because of it!
Do you have a cold frame success story?
• Outdoor Inspiration: Salvaged Window Greenhouse
• Inspiration: Old Windows as Space Dividers
• Greenhouse Made From Old Windows
(Images: Flickr member Lenny Montana, licensed under Creative Commons; Flickr member Marc_Smith, licensed under Creative Commons; Ashley English, Design*Sponge; Elayne Sears, Mother Earth News; Amber Byfield, Re-Nest.)