Here’s my Grow Camp last summer. I decided to add the optional Grow Camp extension, which doubles the growing space.
I’ve always wanted to grow more fresh, backyard produce for my family, so last spring, I set up a Grow Camp. The results were great, and we enjoyed plenty of vegetables all summer. This month, we’re getting ready for another season of Grow Camp harvests.
Get the full story in my Grow Camp slideshow. Plus: Video, FAQs and assembly instructions. Just look for the icon, at right.
What is the Grow Camp? It starts with a 4′ x 4′ raised bed made of rot-proof, no-maintenance polypropylene. The bed holds 19 inches of soil, so you can grow carrots or other deep-rooted crops. A two-part cover of crystal clear, “greenhouse” polypropylene and fine-mesh nylon netting, allows you to start plants earlier in the spring, protects them from pests in the summer, and extends your harvest into fall. The cover is supported by an incredibly strong, cross-braced frame that doubles as a support for the plants inside.
Because of the greenhouse cover, I am able to start growing in March — even up here in Vermont. Despite a snowfall a week after planting, my seedlings are safe inside. In April, we enjoy our first harvests of salad greens.
Assembly is easy. I did it myself in about three hours. The unique clamp system requires only a Phillips screwdriver and pliers, yet it’s incredibly stable.
To start the season, I grow arugula, spinach, carrots, lettuce, beets, radishes and chard. As the early greens were harvested, I use the space to add tomatoes, sweet peppers and hot peppers.
This year, I will try the Grow Trays, which are designed to fit the Grow Camp. They’re perfect for succession planting: You start seeds in the Grow Trays to replace the plants that you have harvested from the raised bed section that sits underneath the trays. I plan to use the trays to grow perennials that are easy to start from seed. Once they’ve germinated and grown strong in the protected setting of the Grow Camp, the seedlings will be ready to go out into the garden. More perennials!