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.
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.
2013 Update: Although this product is no longer available, you can count on GSC to source or develop better and better garden bed covers and “growcamp” type items every season.
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!
Creative Director, Gardener’s Supply