Our neighbours five years ago, when our hedges were small and the soil poor, leaned on the fence and looked at our new glasshouse. They were having a clean out and had found an old coldframe down the side of their greenhouse, did we want it? Well, you all know the answer. We took it and we too stored it down beside a shed and said one day, when had money, when we had time we would fix it and restore the glass to it. When our old porch at the back of the house was pulled down we saved the double glazed panels and tried to cut them to shape, only to find the glass didn't cut no matter what we did. We heaved a sigh of disappointment and returned the coldframe to its storage and the glass to its storage and we wondered whether we could have afford polycarbonate to fit in the old coldframe.
There comes a point in any garden that a tool must have a use or be passed on. With a glasshouse bursting at the sides with plants we decided to just see what would happen if we put the old porch glass on top of the coldframe and weighed it down with some thin stone. Why we didn't think of this sooner is beyond us and we suspect we had to go through the make do and mend ideas that we learnt during the wartime garden to see objects in a new way. In a way that makes them useful. So a few old panes of glass over the top of a thrown away coldframe is doing the job. It may not be beautiful, it may not be perfect but the plants are happy and when they need some air we simply take the glass off, carefully. You can make coldframes from pretty much anything, we have since used old polystyrene boxes, crates and bricks built up to make a frame, all covered with glass. It means we can get plants hardened off without the fuss of having to take them back into the glasshouse each night.