Inexpensive Mini-Greenhouse

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A raised garden bed with a greenhouse cover can help you extend your growing season. 

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