You’re looking at the only way our family will ever have a garden in our deer-filled backyard. For several years, I had been eyeing the Grow Camp “Ultimate Vegetable Grower” in the Gardener’s Supply Company catalog. It’s a raised bed garden, with a built in structure and screening that keeps out critters both big and small. It also has removable plastic covers that allow it to act as a green house in the early spring months. The Grow Camp was drool-worthy for sure, but its hefty price tag had me certain that owning one was just a pipe dream. In reality, most of what I pine for in the Gardener’s Supply catalog is an expensive impossibility – but that doesn’t stop me from pouring over the pages each time it arrives in my mailbox.
Then one late winter day last year, Hubberman texted from Costco with a photo of a Grow Camp system, with extension, and growing tray, for less than the retail price of just one section normally (sadly, even Costco online doesn’t seem to have it at this price anymore.) Needless to say, I texted back with great enthusiasm to buy the Grow Camp…buy it…BUY. IT. HUBBERMAN. And he did.
This was one of those fun, exciting purchases where I dug out the all the literature from the box the night before we installed it, just so I could lovingly page through the manual. “When you have experienced the joy of home-grown lettuce or lovely worm-free peas,” the manual states, “your appetite will be whetted.” Oh, yeah, baby! It’s whetted, alright!
Installation was pretty straightforward. Hubberman was very concerned with it being completely level. While I was a bit impatient with this at the time, I’m very happy Hubberman took the extra time to get it level and square. The whole installation took the length of one cloudy March morning and had a distinct “Ikea” feel to it, since all the parts snap together in a modular fashion. The one drawback is that the instruction manual has no words whatsoever. None. Just arrows and code numbers. Strange, yes, but really, the whole process is pretty intuitive. Just one word of caution for anyone else about to install the system – we read in the reviews that once you snap pieces together, it’s hard to take them apart again without ruining the little cam bolt things that snap it in place. Knowing that, we just laid it all out, figuring where each thing went ahead of time and it all came together fine.
Once put together, the Grow Camp’s soil recommendations on their website are accurate. We purchased about 8 big bags of organic soil and that filled it up perfectly. Before long, our first growing season had begun. But that’s a story for a future post.
We are very pleased with the Grow Camp. We are up on a hill, and get heavy duty winds whipping through our backyard, and the Grow Camp has not budged. The screens have held up wonderfully to being repeatedly opened and closed, not to mention pushed on and bullied by last year’s cherry tomato plants (again, another story for another post.) This year, all we had to do was buy two more bags of soil, turn the soil over a bit, place the plastic covers back on for the chilly evenings, and we are ready to go! We are very excited for another season of Grow Camp gardening.
Take that, deer!