Growing plants in raised beds is a great alternative to planting them directly in the ground. In raised bed gardening, you have control over the environmental factors that affect your plants. First, you have a choice in the composition and texture of the soil in which you grow. Natural soil is frequently densely packed and deficient in nutrients.
Planting crops closer together is made possible by the nutrient-rich, aerated soil used in raised beds. Naturally occurring dirt that is compacted can inhibit roots from growing properly. In comparison to regular gardens, raised bed gardens yield almost twice as many flowers and vegetables per square foot.
Longer growing seasons are another benefit of raised beds. In comparison to ground soil, soil in raised beds tends to warm up more quickly in the spring and remain productive for longer into the fall. Due to the additional planting period, your potential income is increased.
Why Build A Raised Bed Greenhouse?
Garden bed greenhouses aren’t temperature and humidity controlled, unlike a regular greenhouse. These structures warm the soil by retaining heat from the sun rather than heating it artificially.
You won’t be able to truly manage the temperature or heat the soil sufficiently to fit plants outside your gardening zone, but the veggies and flowers inside will be a little warmer.
Raised bed greenhouses are smaller and frequently moveable, which is another important distinction.
At the beginning and conclusion of the growing seasons, such as when winter is about to set in, the slight heat difference is beneficial. Typically, when the temperature drops, your garden plants will complete their life cycle or go dormant in the ground. But if we boost the temperature and lengthen the growing season, we may use our garden for a few more weeks or even months.
You can plant earlier as well as harvest later in the season, almost making gardening possible all year-round. Depending on the plant, many can be sown in the ground up to a month or two before the actual spring planting season.
Planting in raised beds in the late winter is a great idea for frost-tolerant plants like spinach. Use a thermometer to monitor how warm your raised garden greenhouse becomes and compare it to the recommended planting temperature listed on the seed packaging to decide exactly how early you can begin farming.
Raised bed greenhouses can be particularly handy for shielding plants from pests and bad weather during the spring and summer. They work well for babying your favorite herbs and vegetables as well as gradually hardening off new plants. The roots of dormant, temperature-sensitive plants in raised beds will be better protected in the winter when the ground soil is simply too chilly to garden in.
Drawbacks To Consider
The addition of a greenhouse to raised bed gardening is fantastic, but it won’t make your garden bed perfect. You should be aware of the restrictions and minor challenges that it has to offer.
The major restriction is that not any plant can be grown in a raised bed greenhouse. Only a specific range of humidity and temperature, which entirely depends on where you live, will be helped by it. Plants that don’t thrive in the ground or raised beds in your temperate zone won’t do any better in a raised bed greenhouse. For that, you’ll need a greenhouse system that regulates temperature and humidity.
A raised bed greenhouse’s total solidity, which prevents considerable airflow, is another crucial consideration. It’s not airtight, but you still need to get some actual airflow through the system to stop the growth of bacteria. In order to prevent the soil temperature and roots from becoming too hot, you’ll also need to open the greenhouse during heat waves depending on the weather where you live.
And finally, every greenhouse system puts a wall between pollinators and plants. When the plant flowers, you must open the raised bed greenhouse if you wish to cultivate the fruit.
Raised Bed Greenhouse vs. Raised Bed Cover
There’s a good chance that if you have raised garden beds, you’ve experimented with raised bed covers. Although covers are great for gardening, they don’t always protect the soil and raised garden bed in the same ways a greenhouse does.
The material is the main distinction. Raised bed coverings are frequently composed of mesh, chicken wire, or cloth with ventilation holes to keep bugs out yet let heat out. Because they will keep the soil warm and suitable for growing, covers with a solid covering, such as thick plastic or glass, are technically greenhouses. In essence, a raised bed greenhouse is a sort of raised bed cover that is quite effective.
Types Of Raised Bed Greenhouses
Raised bed greenhouse designs vary widely, but the majority use either hoop houses or cold frames, which are the two most common basic structures. Both of these categories are great options for gardening that can be done almost all year long, while each has advantages and disadvantages.
The more affordable, transient choice is often hoop houses. They have spherical frames (hoops) that support a thick plastic or other solid material as a solid cover. Hoop houses are a simple DIY project that requires little time to construct. They are therefore often only erected as necessary. Hoop homes rarely have hinges or simple access ports for aeration because of how transient they are.
Structures for hoop houses should be composed of materials that can be easily bent. The most preferred option is a thin PVC pipe because of its adaptability and simplicity. Hoop home kits, thick wire, or even hula hoops are more options. The cover must also be transparent, strong, and flexible.
Hoop houses can be put together in a variety of ways on raised beds, the simplest method is to simply bury the hoops’ ends in the ground before covering them. You can fix the hoops directly to the surface of wooden raised beds. You may also construct the hoop house inside the raised beds before adding soil for a more long-term fix.
The more elaborate raised bed greenhouses, known as cold frames, call for some woodworking expertise. They are permanently a part of the garden since they are permanently linked to the raised beds, frequently on hinges. Cold frames are utilized all year round and can be quickly opened as necessary. They typically have a neater, box design, making them the prettier choice.
A wooden frame is generally lined with high-quality plastic or glass in cold frames. A lot of them are simply recycled windows from house renovations. You may simply construct one yourself or purchase cold frames online.
How To Build A Temporary Greenhouse On Your Own?
This raised bed greenhouse will be a straightforward wooden box frame that can be assembled in a few hours. You can add and remove it from the raised beds as necessary because it is lightweight.
Only shorter or immature plants will function in this raised beds greenhouse design since it will lay flat across the top of the raised bed. However, you can easily increase its height by utilizing larger beams or adding legs. Use a thicker beam on one side and have the other two perpendicular beams cut into angles to create an angled greenhouse that allows rainwater to run off the raised beds.
What you’ll need is as follows:
- 5 wood boards or posts (cedar, spruce, or whatever you may have available).
- Your choice of greenhouse plastic.
- A tape measure.
- Some wood glue.
- A few nails.
- A hammer.
- Metal brackets.
- A staple gun.
Simply follow these instructions to build your own raised bed greenhouse at home:
- Your raised beds’ length and width should be measured from the edges in.
- Create the raised bed’s perimeter by cutting the wood boards according to those measurements. Consider how you will join the boards in advance. For instance, if you make a straightforward butt joint, the overlaying board will lengthen the second board by a few extra inches.
- To fit across the middle of the frame, cut the fifth board. You might want to put two or more of these stabilizing boards across the frame if your raised bed is particularly long.
- To assemble everything, use wood glue. Also, hammer nails through the ends for increased tensile strength. Additionally, you can fasten metal brackets to the interior of each corner. Cheap shelf brackets will do the trick.
- Grab your greenhouse plastic and set the frame of the greenhouse aside. Enough material should be cut and measured to line the entire frame.
- To fasten the greenhouse plastic to the frame, use a stapler. It should be pulled tight but not to the point of tearing.
- Now simply place your new greenhouse structure on top of the raised bed and observe how your plants fare.
The frame can be adjusted as necessary, for instance by raising it or adding hinges. You now have a solid system in place for maintaining the warmth of the soil, plants, and roots in your raised beds.
How Deep Should Greenhouse Raised Beds Be?
Make the raised bed as deep as you can reach the soil comfortably if you can only access it from one side (usually 2-3 feet). But this also relies on the size of the plants you’ll be using for your vegetables, herbs, or flowers.
How Can I Facilitate The Maintenance Of My Raised Beds
We advise adding our Soil-Warming Cables and a watering system when you construct your raised bed. When the soil temperature falls below 74°F, Soil Warming Cables, which should be buried about 6″ beneath the surface, will automatically switch on.
Plants will develop faster and your growing season will be prolonged if you have these wires in your raised bed. Another excellent tip is to incorporate an irrigation system into your raised bed when you are building it. This will spare you the trouble of later manually watering your plants.
How Can I Protect My Raised Bed Garden From Pests?
Raised beds have fewer insect issues than regular gardens, but occasionally burrowing animals can still be a concern. We advise putting Galvanized Wire Mesh at the bottom of the raised beds to prevent this issue and keep these animals out. It is significantly less expensive than replacing your entire crop once bugs have destroyed it.
How Can I Guard My Raised Bed Garden Against Sudden Cold Weather?
It is advisable getting a row cover if your raised bed will be outdoors rather than in a greenhouse or high tunnel so that plants won’t be harmed by frost or other unforeseen cold temperatures.
Constructing your own raised bed greenhouse can be a great weekend project now that you have learned the basics. It will be a great addition to your gardening efforts.