Here are a couple of less expensive ways to grow some plants during these cold months.
1) This is in my
backyard. It is a simple cedar frame with a piece of double pane glass. You can see the gallon water jug in the middle. On cold nights, I fill this with hot water and it keeps the whole frame above freezing until the sun comes out again in the morning. There are some carrots, arugula, spinach, lettuce and beets growing in there right now.
2) This is made of bales of straw with double pane glass laid across them. There are two rows. Only one is planted right now. I am directly planting seeds in the other structure in the middle of February. The plants in this structure are holding up to the cold a lot better than the ones in the cedar box. I am worried that this method is going to attract mice, but so far, there have been no signs of them living in there. I have the same plants in here as there are in the cedar frame. There are carrots, beets, arugula, spinach and lettuce.
I planted all of the same plants in here and only the carrots have survived. There is a LOT of temperature fluctuation in this tunnel every day. I have put a very small compost pile at the end of the tunnel to keep it above freezing, but I don’t know how to cool it off without opening it up every day. So far, the compost pile has kept the tunnel above freezing at night. Before I had put the compost pile in there the average daily temperature swing was at least 80 degrees during the day and down to about 28 degrees at night. I will be direct planting seeds in this tunnel in the middle of February.