01 November 2010

Backyard changes and making a cold frame

My South Philly backyard consists of mostly concrete and one lone garden bed. Since we moved into the house last year, this bed primarily functioned as my dog's personal bathroom. My container garden was mostly a success, but it became pretty clear that if I continue to grow tomatoes and other larger crops, I'll need to put the garden bed to use. That led to the question: where will Bam Bam do his business? I didn't want him to poo directly on the concrete since that would soon create a smeary mess. So, I purchased some paving bricks, lined them side by side to create a rectangular space, and filled it with spent potting soil. Voila! Bam Bam has a new bathroom, and I could excavate the garden bed.

After digging out about a foot of soil, I filled the bed with fresh compost and my recently-harvested worm castings. Although it's already quite chilly, I planted some cold hardy veggies, including cabbage (from transplants), lettuce, cauliflower, snap peas, cilantro, chives, spinach, and kale. I then covered the entire bed with an old window, which I scored at a recent cold frame workshop. The window was an extra one that the workshop leader had lying around, but we also made a cold frame using a smaller window and plastic lumber.

(Before. The garden bed area--the interior measures approximately 2' x 7'--and the patio area that will become Bam Bam's bathroom space.)

(After. Doggie bathroom complete.)

(Bam Bam checks out his new digs. I take his immediate peeing as approval.)

(The garden bed turned into a mini-greenhouse with the addition of two windows--1 large and 1 small, side by side. I'm a little worried that nothing will grow since the fall/winter sun only briefly touches this spot.)

(DIY cold frame, constructed from plastic lumber and a window pane, all provided at a cold frame workshop. The window leans against the lumber and can be moved easily to vent.)


  1. Awesome! That looks fabulous, thanks for coming to the workshop! I send good vibes that something will grow . . .

  2. Oh wow! I love how you do your garden bed! I have to find some windows to do cold frames with! I hate to spend money on expensive windows, maybe I can find someone giving it away.