Category Archives: Gardening

Garden Bed Greenhouse

I had been searching ever since the garden beds had finished construction for an attractive solution for a greenhouse. Wanting to keep my neighborhood appeased I needed a solution that would look professional and definitely not an eye sore. I also wanted a solution that would be reusable and easy to set up.

I tried for a few weeks to create a simple hoop house by bending EMT conduit but I was unable to get repeatable results. I set up jigs with screws and plywood and tried using a pipe bender without repeatable results.

After much searching I found “canopy fittings”, pre-bent and welded connectors for canopys and tents. I ordered a few to try them out on one bed. I needed 6 end fittings and 3 intermediate fittings to cover one bed. I used 3/4″ EMT from the local hardware store to connect the fittings and create the frame of the bed.

I ordered some greenhouse plastic and laid it over the frame.

I tried attaching the plastic to the frame. I tried wiggle wire and thin walled PVC to get the plastic to get the plastic to take the shape of the frame.

I took a treated 1×6 and attached it to the frame using EMT brackets, then screwed the wiggle wire onto the board.

Once the wiggle wire was installed I could install a roll-up bar on the sides of the bed. The plastic drapes down to the bottom of the bed held in place by a metal bar that runs the length of the bed. When I need to vent the greenhouse, I would roll the bar up, bringing the plastic with it, and let fresh air in.

Some garlic I planted last fall has sprouted. I’ve also transplanted Lettuce, Kale, and Brussels Sprouts out to the bed.

Making Compost Using Free Local Resources

This year I tried making compost using only leaves and coffee grounds. I went to nearby Starbucks locations and asked for all their grounds. Some complied, some were even happy to not have to take the trash out themselves, but most were bothered by the inconvenience, and I wasn’t getting enough grounds to keep up with the number of leaves that fell on my property. I managed to get the compost up to 120-130 degrees for a few days, but the nitrogen was quickly depleted while the leaves were still in abundance.

I sought after an easier approach to getting free resources from around town to get my compost piles going before winter.

I drove around neighborhoods around mine looking for bagged leaves by the side of the road. The trash company offers leaf pickup if they are in brown paper bags. I swooped in before they could be taken with my borrowed SUV and trailer. I gathered around 100 bags of leaves. Some shredded, most not.

I then reached out to local horse stables in search of a generous donor of horse manure. I found a location near me that was more than happy to shovel the daily horse waste into my trailer instead of the dumpster. After a week I received a call that the trailer was ready for dumping!

I used one 5′ bin and one 3′ bin to see which one worked better. I filled both up with leaves and manure. I added around 4″ of manure then a bag of leaves. The second one also had excess garden waste from the year.

The thermometer I’m using.

After 24 hours:

After 48 hours:

After 72 hours:

If the temperature continues to climb I’ll need to be turning the pile in under a week. Impressive!