Make Your Own Cold Frame
Here in Wisconsin, not much grows in winter, but I have found that I can start my seedlings in March instead of the end of May with a cold frame.
Making one of these contraptions is easier than you think, and it can even be done on the cheap!
It basically is a bottomless box with glass cover. You need to have the back of the frame higher than the front to better catch the winter sun. If you have old storm windows, it is even cheaper and easier to build.
This would take a full weekend, so you do have to plan some time on this project, but it will be worth planting in early fall and harvesting before the first snow. Then planting again a full 2 months earlier than any of your neighbors.
I know you can plant cold tolerant plants all winter, but I am not a winter person and until now have not done it.
I am also not an engineer. I first saw these plans here: http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/3434/build-a-simple-cold-frame
Take a look and see if this will work for you. I know as long as my husband has a master guide, he can build most anything. This was an easy project for us to accomplish, although I did very little but pound a few nails and bring him lots of lemonade and ice tea!
Find full directions and materials list here: http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/3434/build-a-simple-cold-frame