Inexpensive Mini-Greenhouse

You can build this raised garden bed mini-greenhouse to extend your growing season with used railroad ties for the base and some scrap wood and sheet plastic for the cover.

| February/March 2012

  • Inexpensive Mini-Greenhouse
    A raised garden bed with a greenhouse cover can help you extend your growing season. 

  • Inexpensive Mini-Greenhouse

Thirty years ago, I bought MOTHER EARTH NEWS to help pass the time while I was a U.S. Navy sailor stationed on an aircraft carrier. I enjoyed reading the magazine from cover to cover — often three or more times per cruise — and I couldn’t wait for the next issue. The magazine has inspired me to do many projects.

Recently, I wanted to try growing in a small raised garden bed. I had railroad ties lying around, and I used the ties to build a three-tier, 4-by-8-foot raised garden bed. I drove rebar into the ties (after pre-drilling smaller holes in them) to tie them together. I lined the garden bed with heavy plastic to limit potential contamination to the soil from the railroad ties, and I poked holes in the plastic for proper drainage. Next, I filled the bed with a combination of cow manure and topsoil.

I also made a mini-greenhouse cover for the bed so the crops could get an earlier start. Some of the cover materials I had on hand and some I bought. The cost for the greenhouse cover was $95. Last, I wound a soaker hose around the plants for irrigation.

Robert Ford
Montrose, Pennsylvania

3/10/2019 5:01:32 PM

Hello there can you post a materials and tools list and a step by step of how you constructed this? I would also like to build this right away! Thanks!

10/17/2014 8:28:55 PM

I sure would like the plans for this project. I have one thing I would do different. I would drill a hole in the wood for the hose to go through. Plastic has a tendency to get bigger with wear. It also would not allow the wind to frost the plants. Love the design.

1/28/2014 4:11:20 PM

Hey Buddy, can you post a materials and tools list and a step by step of how you constructed this? I want to build one right away.

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