Greenhouses have always represented a diligent gardener to me. After all, they are intended to maximize the growth season. Greenhouses, on the other hand, typically take up a lot of important garden area (and money!). What if I told you that you could construct greenhouses atop your raised beds? You’ll have a longer growing season and better harvests with a raised bed greenhouse while conserving space!
Raised greenhouses are a terrific do-it-yourself project, but they do need some preparation. Before you begin construction, you should evaluate your garden’s requirements (think position, materials, timing, etc.). Then, based on what works best for your raised beds, you select one of the various styles offered. It may appear intimidating at first, but we cover all you need to know!
Why is an elevated greenhouse necessary?
Before we get into the technical specifics, let’s have a look at the elevated greenhouse. Horticultural greenhouses are distinguished from typical greenhouses by the absence of temperature and humidity controls. Instead of being heated artificially, these structures heat the soil by absorbing heat from the sun. While the veggies and flowers will be somewhat warmer inside, you will not be able to adjust the temperature or heat the soil sufficiently to satisfy the plants outside your garden. Another significant distinction is that greenhouses for raised beds are smaller and frequently moveable.
The marginal heat differential is useful during the start and conclusion of the growth season, such as when winter arrives. Normally, your garden plants will sense the temperature drop and complete their life cycle (or go to sleep in the ground). We can get a few additional weeks or even months out of our garden if we raise the temperature and lengthen the growth season. This is especially effective for late-harvest crops like winter squash.
You can not only harvest later in the season, but you can also sow earlier (allowing you to farm virtually all year!). It varies each plant, but many plants may be planted one to two months early in the spring. Frost-resistant plants, such as spinach, are ideal for planting in raised beds in the late winter. To find out how early you may start gardening, use a thermometer to measure the temperature of your raised bed and compare it to the planting temperature listed on the seed packet.
Raised greenhouses are beneficial for sheltering plants from pests and harsh weather conditions in the spring and summer. They’re also great for gradually hardening off young plants (or simply safeguarding your favorite herbs and vegetables!). When the earth is too cold to grow in the winter, a garden greenhouse may preserve the roots of temperature-sensitive plants dormant in raised beds.
Is it a raised greenhouse or a raised cover?
You’ve probably used raised bed coverings previously if you have raised garden beds. Covers are useful for gardening, but they don’t always keep the raised garden bed and soil as well as a greenhouse. The biggest distinction is the material. Raised bed covers are frequently constructed of cloth with vents, mesh, or even chicken wire, which keeps bugs out but not the heat in. Greenhouses are covers with a solid covering, such as thick plastic or glass, since they keep the ground warm and useable. A greenhouse is an excellent kind of elevated cover.
Consider the following:
A greenhouse is an excellent complement to raised bed gardening, but it is not a miracle cure. It has several limits and minor stumbling blocks that you should be aware of.
The most significant drawback is that a raised bed greenhouse cannot grow all of the plants you choose. It will only assist the soil in reaching a particular temperature and humidity, which are fully dependent on where you reside. Plants that do not grow well in the ground or on raised beds in your climatic zone will not perform well in a raised-bed greenhouse (sorry, but dragon fruit does not thrive outside during an Idaho winter). A temperature and humidity control system is required for this.
Another crucial consideration is that a raised bed greenhouse is fully solid, which restricts air movement. Even though it is not airtight, the system requires true air movement to avoid bacterial development. You’ll also need to keep the greenhouse open during heat waves to keep soil and root temperatures from rising too high (depending on the weather you live in).
Finally, each greenhouse system separates the pollinator from the plant. You must open the elevated greenhouse when the plants are blossoming if you wish to grow fruit.
Raised bed greenhouse designs
Raised greenhouses can be built in a variety of ways, but the majority are one of two basic structures: hoop greenhouses or cold frames. Both of these groups have benefits and drawbacks, but they are both good alternatives for year-round planting. There’s also lots of potential for innovation!
We have an entire post about raised bed greenhouses, but here’s a basic overview. Greenhouses are typically the least expensive temporary choice. They feature spherical frames (hoops) that support a strong covering, which is generally thick plastic. Hoop homes are a simple do-it-yourself project that is simple to make and remove. As a result, they are typically placed only when necessary. Because they are so transient, hoop buildings rarely feature hinges or conveniently accessible ventilation apertures.
Hoop constructions should be fashioned of a flexible material. Because of its flexibility and ease of usage, thin PVC pipe is the most preferred option. Thick wire, hoop sets, and even hoops can be used! The cover should be flexible, transparent, and long-lasting.
There are various methods for mounting hoop houses on raised beds. The simplest method is to pound the ends of the hoops into the ground before covering them. If you have a wooden deck, you may attach the hoops to the deck directly. Alternatively, for a more permanent solution, insert the hoops into the elevated boards before filling them with soil (as in the plan we give here).
- ice frames
Cold frames are more advanced elevated greenhouses that need construction expertise (or a large wallet). They are typically hinged to raised beds, making them a permanent feature of the landscape. Growing boxes are used all year and may be readily opened as necessary. Furthermore, their box-like form makes them more appealing in general.
A hardwood frame is frequently coated with high-quality plastic or glass in cold trays. Many windows are simply reclaimed from restoration projects. You can easily purchase cold frames online or just construct one of these 26 free cold frame layouts!
- Other possibilities
Of course, you are not required to adopt a certain greenhouse layout for raised beds. It’s your garden, so have fun with it! You may combine concepts to make your own greenhouse. You may also repurpose items from the thrift shop, such as transparent storage jars or an empty aquarium.
Some gardeners flip this on its head and install raised beds in an existing greenhouse. This is a terrific alternative for saving space and providing quick access to food plants. Raised bed kits, such as Birdies Raised Beds, are the simplest to build in a greenhouse, as well as the most consistent.
Build a makeshift greenhouse as soon as possible.
Time is money (or veggies in our case), so let’s save some of it by swiftly building a greenhouse that can be simply added to raised beds. This elevated greenhouse is a basic wooden structure that takes only a few hours to build. Because it is lightweight, you can easily add and remove it from raised beds as needed.
Because this elevated greenhouse design is flat on the raised bed, it is only suitable for shorter or immature plants. However, you may simply raise it by adding legs or larger beams. Use a thicker beam on one side and cut the two opposing beams at an angle to create a slanted greenhouse that allows rain to run off the raised beds.
Begin by acquiring some supplies. What you’ll need is as follows:
- 5 wood planks or poles (cedar, fir, or whatever is available in your garage)
- Your greenhouse plastic of choice
- a measuring tape
- Glue for wood
- Nails (or other similar fasteners)
- Brackets made of metal (optional)
- a stapler
To build a DIY raised bed conservatory, simply follow these steps:
- From the outer edges, measure the length and breadth of your raised beds.
- Cut the wooden planks to match the perimeter of the raised bed using these measurements. Remember to think about how you’ll join the boards. For example, if you’re creating a basic butt joint, the overlapping board will add a few inches to the second board’s length.
- In the centre of the frame, cut the fifth plank to size. If your raised bed is rather long, you may use two or more of these stabilizing boards to reinforce the frame.
- To put it all together, use wood glue. Nail the ends together for further strength. Metal brackets may also be attached to the interior of each corner (cheap shelf brackets work excellent for this!).
- Set aside the greenhouse frame and gather your greenhouse plastic. Measure and cut enough cloth to completely cover the frame.
- Attach the greenhouse plastic to the frame with a staple gun. It should be snug, but not too snug that it tears.
All you have to do is give it a go! Simply lay your new greenhouse frame on top of the raised bed and observe how your plants respond. If required, you can modify the frame by lifting it or adding hinges. For the time being, you have an excellent system in place to keep the soil, plants, and roots of your raised beds warm.