This Longmont flower grower uses her raised beds as quick-and-easy greenhouses and they work great for a few degrees of extra protection. Here's how she does it:
Materials you'll need for a 4 x 8' bed:
- 10 (1/2” 18" -24”) pieces of rebar
- Nylon cord or clothesline for spine
- 20’ x 10’ of 8 mil greenhouse plastic, or plastic sheeting if you’re in a pinch. Actual UV-rated greenhouse plastic will last much longer
- Four 10’ long hoops made of PVC or electrical metal conduit (PVC works if you don’t have access to a hoop bender, but if you plan on making a lot or using these every year invest in the hoop bender and bend metal hoops as they won’t degrade the greenhouse plastic like the PVC will over time)
- 8 of the 2” clamps to hold the cover in place (linked in bio)
- If you’re adding an electric heater to the space, be sure it is greenhouse rated for moisture, the plug is within the structure and you have 3’ of clearance from combustibles like dried leaves or debris. For extra safety place it on a non combustible surface like a fiberglass tray or paver.
If the heater makes you nervous (remember, safety first!) this greenhouse without a heater will still give you an extended growing season with frost protection and a few degrees of extra warmth, especially if you use frost fabric within the structure.
Want to make it even more efficient? Add a layer between the two plastic layers of bubble wrap for extra R value.
Here's the 12-minute video with instructions on how to build your own DIY greenhouse.
Credit: Blossom and Branch Farm
Another option for protecting tender plants through the spring are these row covers from Gardener's Supply Company. One of our members swears by them (she puts a brick on each to keep them down due to wind). They have been used for four years in a row and are holding up well. TIP: buy the covers that include ends as shown in link or else cold air will get in and zap your plants.
The FREE way to protect spring growing beds is to cover them with a thick layer of pine needles.