When we moved to Oklahoma in September of last year, my husband and I tried right away to get a fall garden planted. We had built a 4×4 square foot garden at our previous home, but we couldn’t bring it with us, so we decided to try for a cold weather garden here in Oklahoma. We’d never had a cold weather garden and therefore had no idea what we were doing 🙂 It didn’t turn out so well, and we didn’t really have any produce worth mentioning; however, this spring, we’ve been determined to have a GOOD garden. We started our pepper plants and tomatoes under a grow light in our office several weeks ago, (See more about our set-up HERE) and we’ve been getting the raised beds ready for planting!
We learned VERY quickly that the wind out here in Western Oklahoma is not to be messed with! 20-30 mph winds are a daily occurrence, and we knew our little peppers and tomatoes wouldn’t do very well outside without some sort of shelter. I had pinned an article on Pinterest a looong time ago about a greenhouse type cover over a raised bed, and thought it was a GREAT idea! I couldn’t find the original article though, so the picture was all we had to work with. Hubs and I set out to build our greenhouse garden with a wing-it type attitude.
When we originally built our new raised bed, we built a 6ft by 3ft frame using these raised bed stackable hinges and stacked 2×6″ boards on top of one another to create a 12″ deep bed. We are only planning on living in Oklahoma for a couple of years so we thought this might make it easier to disassemble and move them later on down the road. Then, when we started planning our spring/summer garden, we realized that one bed wasn’t going to be enough for all that we wanted to plant! We built another 4ft by 4ft raised box (that will not be covered) so we could have a little bit of extra space. We didn’t use the hinges for the smaller bed, so we’ll let you know which one we like better in the end 🙂
Since we already had the raised bed built and ready to go, we started by making a frame for the greenhouse cover.
For the Raised Bed (If you don’t already have one built):
- Six 2×6″ Boards, 6ft long each
- Raised bed stackable hinges (You’ll need two sets of the anchor joints, and two sets of the stacked joints, for a total of 8 hinges)
- 1.5 to 2″ Screws
For the Greenhouse Cover:
- Three 2×2″ furring strips, 8ft long each (6 foot would be sufficient, but the shortest they had was 8ft.)
- 3″ Screws
- 1.5 to 2″ Screws
- Five 1/2″ PVC pipes in 10 ft length
- Ten 1/2″ PVC Pipe clamps/straps with two holes (We recommend the plastic ones) Looks like THESE (but these are the wrong size so don’t buy them haha)
- Two 1×2″ furring strips, 6ft long each (Or 8ft long, cut to size)
- Hinges (We used 2 sets)
- Latch (optional)
- Two 2ft lengths of chain
- Four Screw Eye Bails (Screw eye hooks)
- Gardening cloth 10ft wide
- Twine (If you want to make a square foot garden grid)
You’ll also need a Skill/Circular saw, a power drill/screwdriver, and a staple gun to make things go MUCH quicker.
Let’s Get Started!
First, we cut the 2×2″ furring strips to size. You’ll need two 6 foot lengths and two 3 foot lengths. (Or measure your raised bed to ensure an exact fit… because of the large hinges, ours was 1-2 inches longer in each direction)
Screw the four strips together to create a 6ft x 3ft rectangle. (Note: We used nails because we mistakenly thought we had screws that were long enough at home and didn’t buy any new ones…In lieu of going back to the hardware store we just decided to use nails, which I DON’T recommend. Screws are much sturdier)
Next, we used leftover scraps from the 2×2″ trimmings to create corner braces. This made the frame MUCH stronger.
After your corner braces are installed, loosely attach the pipe clamps to the inside of your frame. (Putting them on the inside allows the PVC pipe to push against the entire frame instead of each individual pipe clamp, reducing the strain.) 5 clamps per side, evenly spaced.
Insert the PVC pipes into the clamps, then tighten. We found it much easier to do all five pipes on the first side before moving to the other side of the bed. Then, to keep the pipes from slipping, we screwed straight through the clamp and pipe into the frame. (Drilling a small starter hole first makes this MUCH easier)
We found out a tad too late that the hardware store employees had given us PVC pipes that were not exactly 10 feet each… In hindsight we should have measured first, but, not wanting to take them all out and cut them to match, we just tried to make them all as even as possible. My OCD is kind of making me twitch looking at it, but with the cover on it doesn’t make a big difference anyways :))
Add the 1×2″ furring strips at about 10 and 2 for stability. (Again, pre-drilling holes through the PVC was essential)
Add two hinges to one of the short ends. (Or whichever side you prefer, but we liked the short end idea)
Next, use the screw eye hooks to attach the chains. Hubs lifted the cover up to a 90º angle while I marked where the chains/eye hooks would go before drilling and inserting the hooks.
We stapled twine to the raised bed to mark out a square foot garden grid.
Last, you attach the cover. We stapled ours all over the frame AND on the stabilizing strips, too. I told you, the wind is NOT to be messed with around here! You can use plastic, such as a 3+ mil thick greenhouse tarp, but since it also gets crazy hot during an Oklahoma summer (We’ve already had two 100+ days this month!), we opted for a more breathable, garden fabric. Gardener’s Supply has several different ones. We used the garden quilt last fall, but it was a tad thicker than we wanted, and ours got torn somehow in the garage so this time we went with the All-Purpose Garden Fabric because it blocks the wind, yet lets 70% of sunlight in as well, and the heat doesn’t get trapped like it would with the plastic. No burned plants for us 🙂
P.S. Don’t let hubs fool you into thinking he did all the work 😉 I did ALOT of it, but I made him pose for pictures hehe
Now all we have to do is set up our irrigation system (more on that soon) and plant! Yay!
What Do You Think?
Tell me honestly: Do you like it? Do you have a cover for your raised beds? How did you build it? Thanks for the feedback!
Note: Eventually, I did find the original article, found HERE at SwingNCocoa, and I was pleasantly surprised that we made it very similarly to her tutorial! It probably would have gone much more smoothly if we’d had the directions beforehand instead of making it up as we went, but it worked out ok 🙂
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