Part 1 of this excellent adventure can be found here.
After a good night’s sleep, with a few interruptions devoted to thoughts about how to best attach the corrugated plastic to the FarmTek, Flip-Top, ClearSpan cold frame, I was ready to hit it on Sunday morning.
The FarmTek cold frame kit included a generous roll of corrugated plastic material that was 8 feet wide and plenty long enough to cover the frame. Slightly more than 8 feet of material was needed to span the hoops and provide attachment to the front and back pipe frames. Since the cold frame is 12 feet long, we needed to cut one 8-foot plus length of material to cover 8 feet of the frame and we needed to cut another 8-foot plus length and then trim it to 4 feet wide. With a fresh mind, and help from Kate and daughter Becca, that process went smoothly.
Now the real fun began. The FarmTek cold frame kit included some heavy-duty vinyl H-channel strips that are used to trim the ends of the corrugated plastic, and through which TekScrews are driven to attach the cold frame cover to the pipe frame. With a 12 foot cold frame, a third piece of H-channel is used to splice the 8 foot and 4 foot pieces of corrugated plastic together … to make the full 12 feet of cover length.
We had no problem sliding the cold frame’s roofing material into the H-channels, but it was pretty much impossible for us move that entire piece to the pipe frame, and get it attached without having the 4 foot piece and 8 foot piece at least partially separate. We tried a few different tacks, and then it hit me. Why not run some screws through the H-channel to attach it to the two corrugated plastic pieces. I wish I had thought of that earlier, it would have saved us about an hour of trial and error. Splicing is only required on FarmTek Flip-Top cold frames longer than 8 feet.
With the two pieces of cold frame cover firmly connected, the three of us easily positioned the material on the hoop frame. Kate and Becca held it in place while I attached the corrugated plastic to the hoop frame with TekScrews and washers. This process took about 40 minutes, and I would gladly assemble another 12-foot FarmTek cold frame now that I know how to get the cover splice to survive installation. For a brief moment, I was kicking myself for going with the 12-footer instead of the 8-footer.
The final steps included attaching 2 metal brackets to the rear of the base frame to lock the frame’s “hinge” in place and installing the two support legs on the front of the pipe frame. The finishing touch came in the form of attaching two woven straps to the ends of the pipe frame and the base frame … to keep the cover from tipping all the way back.
Kate and I really like the FarmTek Flip-Top cold frame and are considering the addition of another smaller frame for the herb garden.
Now all we need is for this unseemly arctic blast to head back north so we can begin experimenting with our new FarmTek cold frame. Stay tuned.
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.