Small greenhouse or hot frame idea

I have a large glass reptile cage that I acquired. Since I do not fool with reptiles I had thought about using it as a sort of mini green house or hot frame to start seedlings etc in ..........Its approx 48" x 18" x 20 " high, has slightly tinted glass on three sides, with a plexiglass hinged top which seals relatively snug. In the two sides and back are adjustable vents.
How do you think this would work for a mini green house?
Would the clear glass side be better suited for exposure to the sun or shuld I orientate it so the sun goes through the tinted portion. The tint is not dark, just a light shade of grey. Visit my website: http://www.frugalmachinist.com Opinions expressed are those of my wife, I had no input whatsoever. Remove "nospam" from email addy.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Roy) wrote:

The most important element in a greenhouse is ventilation. With no ventilation, a greenhouse in the sun is a death sentence to anything inside. You won't believe how hot it can get. They have automatic lids for cold frames that lift when it starts getting warm inside. You either need one of these or someone who will keep a watch on it. During the growing season there is not problem since the lid can be left open. But during the winter it is a constant battle to keep the plants from freezing and from cooking. Also, a greenhouse needs a source of heat in the winter so the plants don't freeze on cloudy days and at night.
The ideal use for this would be propagation of woody plants. Put the cage in the shade with a good open view to the north so it gets lots of light but NO direct sunlight. Then you can take cuttings of things like rhododendrons in the fall and root them in here. I knew a woman who did this with mason jars. It would be much easier in your snake cage. For more information on this, look up "Nearing frame". The essential elements are no direct sun, northern exposure and a good moisture seal.
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from snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Roy) contains these words:

Sounds ideal. In the UK they are called cold-frames, and very widely used by gardeners. Being portable you can move them around to suit your needs. Some people place them over an earth bed but I prefer to stand them on concrete and plant in pots or trays because it's easier to judge watering and spot slugs. In spring, in a sheltered spot out of direct sun, I use mine to germinate seeds and cosset the seedlings, especially things like courgette and corn until after l;ast frosts. In summer I use the frames in a partly-sunny spot to strike cuttings . In winter I use them to shelter anything in a pot that needs extra protection, and plants like succulents which don't mind cold but hate a lot of rain. Usually in winter I have the cold frames in a sunny place out of the wind. I use the lid to adjust the airflow and temperature. On cold winter nights you can cover the whole thing in an old quilt or something insulating.
Janet.
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