A Home Made, Makeshift Greenhouse / Polytunnel!

The basic structure done, now for the cover!The basic structure done, now for the cover!

We have a slight gardening issue up here at altitude in the Sierra Nevadas. . .even in summer, our nights can get chilly. More problematic than that, however, is the fact that we have a ton of critters who LOVE to nibble on fresh veggies and their leaves.  Add to that the fact that we live in dense forest and don’t get a whole lot of consistent sun throughout the day.  What does that equal?  A gardening quandry!

Husband placing the pipe on the rebar

Husband placing the pipe on the rebar

I haven’t made it to the point of putting in a permanent, strongly fenced-in, well cleared vegetable garden, yet, though. Still too many trees and stumps and un-level clayish ground to contend with before I fork out the cash to put in a proper animal-proof fenced garden.

But this will be my third spring back in the US after YEARS of miserable gardening weather in the UK, and I’m not going to let it pass me by with just a few pots, herb gardens and hanging baskets.

The first year, I was okay with no real gardening. We had just moved in, after all.

The next year, I managed some tomatoes and garlic in large containers, along with an expanded herb selection in some rail boxes.

But this year, that’s just not enough. Not by a long shot.

The basic structure done, now for the cover!

The basic structure done, now for the cover!

So, I’ve decided to take the bull by the horns and build a bit of a makeshift poly-tunnel. I hope this will be enough to keep the critters at bay while also keeping the plants nice and warm at night. I’m not going to use heavy fencing materials, so I know my structure will be a slight suggestion to stay out rather than an order, but I’m going to take the chance, anyway.

We’re going to keep things very close to the house, in a spot we’d actually begun to dig out for a patio. We’re using some things that were left by the previous owner–rebar and pvc pipe–to build the structure. After hammering 4 feet lengths of rebar into the ground to a depth of two feet, we’re simply slipping the pipe ends over the exposed two feed of rebar to form an arch. Then, we’ll drape plastic drop cloths over the whole thing to form the enclosure.

Not very high-tech, nor particularly animal proof, but hopefully enough to do the job.  And very cheap.

We’re intending to do a raised bed on the right side, near the earth wall, and a bunch of pots on the other side (tomatoes and garlic and beans, etc. in those). I have no idea how this is all going to work out, but we’ll keep you posted!

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