My ‘Grow your own’ garden May update: DIY mini cold frame & planting out

I'm sure it's the same for everyone but I feel like our garden is SO behind compared to last year! I've finally been able to plant out some of the hardier veggies but we've also built a DIY cold frame from pallet wood to keep growing our seedlings...

I’m sure it’s the same for everyone but I feel like our garden is SO behind compared to last year. I’m convinced that all our veggie seedlings had grown into plants by this month, and we certainly had everything planted out by the end of May. Nonetheless, there has been some progress in our ‘grow your own’ garden this month so here are some snaps and a progress report.

I guess that snowy February and freezing March set everything back a bit this year. We were definitely still having frosts at the beginning of this month so it we couldn’t plant out our veggies even if we wanted to. So, instead we turned our attention to making a mini greenhouse/cold frame to provide more indoor/outdoor space for our seedlings.

After adding the mini greenhouse to our decking last month, we realised how handy it was to be able to grow seedlings outdoors. Firstly, it’s freed up our kitchen windowsill (where we’d previously been propagating seeds) and secondly, it helps to make the plants a little more hardy in the cooler outdoor temperatures.

So we cut up some pallet wood and cobbled together some shelves. Then we built a frame around the two shelves to create a mini cold frame/greenhouse. We had a roll of clear poly sheeting hanging around (I think we got it from a car boot sale years ago, I can’t quite remember, that’s how long we’ve had it) so we stapled that to the back, sides and top of the frame.

Then we made a ‘flap’ front with a baton of wood across the bottom so that it can be rolled up to let sunlight in during the day. I remembered that I had a roll of velcro in my sewing kit so we stapled this to the edges of the flap to close it down when we head indoors at night.

There are still tomato plants and peppers growing happily out in our DIY grow house now, and a range of courgette plants including yellow and round varieties. We’ve already planted about 12 courgette plants into the veggie patch (which aren’t looking happy after a cold snap last week, so we might need to replace some), and the runner beans are making their way up the trellis.

We decided to try planting potatoes in large containers this year. Last year they didn’t grow at all in the ground so I figured it’s worth a try to plant them in containers. We half-filled them with compost and popped in the seed potatoes. I’m hoping we can tip out one planter at a time and it’ll be the equivalent of a bag of potatoes (so not too much quality to eat at once) at least, that’s my theory!

The potatoes have started growing nicely this year and it’s now time to ‘earth up’ the potato plants to cover the leaves, which will hopefully help to maximise the yield. I thought I would take a snap before we did this because I’m really pleased with how well they are growing so far.

Finally, our strawberries are looking good. I can actually see little berries forming now and I’m excited to see how long it’ll be before the strawberries ripen and are ready to eat. I think I need to come up with a way to protect the strawberries from birds so that I can actually eat some myself! Especially now that we have blue tits nesting in our new colourful bird boxes and plenty of birds visiting our makeshift bird table.

Let me know how you’re getting on with your veggie patch or allotment in the comments below – are yor seedlings and plants further behind this year too? Plus, I’d love to hear about any ideas you have for protecting fruit (I’ve got raspberry canes in too) so please tell me what you usually do to keep the berries safe. 🙂


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Cassie Fairy
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