Cold Frame Update

Many of you read my recent blog post “I Am A Farmer” (click here to read), in which I introduced you to my fabulous cold-frame that Matt built for me. Its been a little over a month since then, so I think its time for an update.

First off, I have gotten a couple of questions more than once, so I’ll address them here:

1) What is the difference between a cold frame and a greenhouse?

In reality, the only real difference is that my cold-frame isn’t heated. There are probably some greenhouse purists that could explain some more detailed differences, but the main diffference is that a greenhouse is generally heated and larger.

2) How does it work/what does it do?

My cold-frame is built on an angle and faces the sun for the majorety of the day. It is covered in clear but cloudy plastic, and lets in about as much sun as the plastic of a milk jug would let though. (That’s why winter sowing like I outlined in this post worked well too!) When sunlight shines on the face of the frame, it gets trapped by the humid environment and the plastic which partially insulates it. That heat stays inside and keeps moisture inside as well, allowing the seedlings inside to germinate. The shelter from wind alone keeps the temp higher than outside the structure, but the sunlight adds a lot of heat when we have a clear day.

What I just explained is the “ideal” or expected way that this cold frame should work, and I am glad to announce that everything is working out for the most part with only a few set-backs this far.


The temperature in the frame is consistently warmer than outside, and I am hoping to get some quantifiable data soon (for my own curiosity mainly). The exception to this was on the windiest day I have seen in a long time, which was about a week or two ago. That leads me to the next point…


The frame is doing well so far, but I have had to get a bit more creative/intentional with how to keep the back side of the plastic in place. The back, or flat part of the frame is where I enter and exit, so it must be free and unattached. However, I was not too happy to discover that the entire back side of the frame was quite literally flapping in the breeze when I went out to water one morning. A huge wind-storm for which my wooden planks were no match had drastically cooled the internal temp and dried out nearly half of my starts. Fortunately, nothing had germinated yet, so no seedlings were lost. I re-stapled the plastic to one side and Matt added a heavier hold-down to one side of the “door”, which has been working very well ever since.

There are a couple of holes in the plastic which I hope to repair at some point, but I need a dry day on which to do so. For now, I don’t think they are causing too much trouble.  

When we get snow, I brush it off with snow brush meant for clearing a windsheald of a car. This ensures that the sun can get through to the inside of the frame, but also helps the plastic stay taught. I find that the wetter, heavier snow begins to stretch the plastic if not removed quickly. This is not a difficult task, and has not caused me any problems thus far. 

The Plants:

Moisture retention in the frame is great so far, so I only water every other day (and that is not always necessary, though I check anyway to be safe). Most of my starts still look like nothing more than hopeful bays of soil, but this week I was so very excited to find some green! Now that a few sprouts are presenting, it is much more important that I retain a high enough temperature for their survival inside the frame. These little guys motivate me while I water a bunch of brown for now; aren’t they great?

One other note:

I did a day-long experiment last week on a very clear and sunny day, and found that the cold frame is getting five and a half hours of full sun, and seven and a half hours of partial to full sun in its current location. This could change as the days lengthen, but I am happy with those numbers for now 🙂

If you have any questions about my cold frame or seed starting, please leave them on this blog post or on Golgi Farm’s facebook page, or message me privately if you wish. Thanks for reading!

About Golgi Farm

Welcome to Golgi Farm, LLC’s “about” page! Scroll down for everything you need to know about Golgi Farm!

If you came here for contact info, scroll to the bottom of this page 🙂

Golgi Farm, LLC is a small urban farm in Commerce, MI. Utilizing about one third of an acre, Golgi’s primary goal is to grow healthful food for its surrounding community, and to do good for the planet in the process. All of our seeds are GMO free, and I never use chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Golgi’s produce can be found at The Milford Farmers Market, in the homes of CSA share holders, and right on the farm! The Golgi Farm Newsletter goes out each week, and is a great way to get fresh, local produce when the Market is not in season. Click here to sign up for the newsletter.

I love teaching kids of all ages how their food is grown, and the science behind it all. Nothing thrills me like the look on someone’s face when they pull a carrot from the ground for the first time or find that brussel sprouts are not just cabbages picked young. Send me an email if you are interested in setting up a farm tour for you, your family, or your group.

What’s up with the name? 

If you remember anything from high school science class, you might recognize the Golgi apparatus as a part of the cell. To make it simple, the Golgi apparatus is the thing that takes simple things and turns them into more complex and usable things, like proteins. At Golgi Farm, my goal is to take simple things like seeds, soil and water (and a ton of hard work) to produce useful things like fruits and veggies. Pretty cool, huh?

 Golgi’s nerdy symbolism also points to my goal to spread education while having fun. I want everyone to know that it is possible to grow their own food, and I also want to share nerdy little bits of info along the way. So put on your lab coat and overalls, and come learn with me!

Who is the farmer? 

 My name is Sydni Phillips, and I would love to meet you! If you have not found your way to my farm stand or reached out to me otherwise, I would love to give you a tour of my farm. Farm tours can be scheduled for you and a friend, a whole group or class, or however best fits your needs.

 I went to university for Biology, and fell in love with the idea that the social side of food and food justice is very closely linked to the science side. It only took one agricultural experiment for me to be hooked, and I had my first urban ag internship in the summer of 2013. Ever since then, I have been happiest with dirt under my fingernails, and I LOVE spreading that joy to people around me! Hearing that someone “always kills plants” or “doesn’t have a green thumb” is a challenge for me, so bring it on!

 I also love music and community, so hearing my ukulele or guitar accompanying singing teenagers from my husband’s youth group is likely 🙂 Come join us!

What else is going on?

 Besides farm tours and selling at markets, there are sure to be many opportunities at Golgi Farm. If you are looking to grow some food of your own and are not sure how to do it, give me a call! I do garden consultations that range from a few quick answers to questions, all the way to “I have never planted anything ever”.

 Looking for something productive for your teenager (or you) to do this summer? I have plenty of hard work that will pay off in friendship and knowledge, so go ahead and ask what you can do! It will most likely mean you leaving with some free produce, so don’t be shy 🙂

 If you like trying new things and supporting local farmers, my CSA membership might be for you. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and it is simpler than you might think. You pay a fee at the beginning of the season for a whole or half share, and I pack up produce for you each week. No planning, no shopping, and no choosing; I make it easy. Just come pick up your box of produce or have it delivered for a small fee. Let me know if you would like more info, or click here to see the sign up form and info sheet.

I want to hear from you!

You can reach me in a few different ways, and I usually get back to people in a day or less. Here are some great ways to contact me:

Message me on facebook or instagram: @golgifarm, or on my personal page, Sydni Phillips.

Call or text me: my number is (248) 387-9073. PLEASE leave a message if I don’t answer, I really will get it and return your call!

Email me:

Smoke signals: just kidding, I have no idea how to read them and that sounds dangerous.

To sign up for the Newsletter: Click here

I can’t wait to hear from you!