Home Farming in Eldorado

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Making a Raised Covered Garden

I decided to make a raised covered garden in part of the vegetable garden so that I could continue to grow leafy vegetables in the fall and winter. I chose to make it in one of the smaller partitions (8ft. X 4ft.). I first dug out the soil to about a foot that was there and set it to the side. (This took me to the hardpan clay layer that is beneath the garden.)

Next I filled the hole with water and let it seep down overnight. The next step was to use the garden fork and to break up the clay layer one fork deep. I then watered that in well.

The next step was to cover that layer with part of a bale of straw (about 6 in.)

Then I covered the straw with a layer of horse manure (about 8 in.).

I replaced the soil that was first dug out of the hole and watered it well.

I drove six 2 ft. pieces of rebar into the ground to hold the frame allowing about 6-7 in. to be out of the ground to secure the pipes. Then I made a frame out of four pieces of 1/2 in. PVC pipe (3 - 7 ft. long and a center pole 8 ft long). This made my cold frame stand 3 ft. high at the center. I covered it with bird netting and will later cover it with medium weight N-SULATE permeable fabric frost protection blanket before the first frost. (The bird netting was necessary because the birds were digging up the seeds that I planted.)

I put the fabric cover over the raised bed before the first frost.

By the end of November the temperature under the cloth covering had gone from 92 degrees to 28 degrees without any apparent damage to the plants!

For spring and summer I cut the bottom of the cover and attached it to the plastic poles with clamps. I left the bird netting on the frame. Then I scatter-planted a mixture of many different kinds of greens seeds in mid-March.