Mini-greenhouses at the side of the house: why not?

This is a great idea: make simple cold frames or mini-greenhouses along the side of your house. It makes otherwise idle space into possible food-growing space. I’ve been fairly idle on this front lately, what with focusing on my last semester at college. And the cold autumn hampered everything. But having a cold frame over the planting beds would extend the growing season. And it could make it possible to do more growing in less-used places, such as the sides of a house or the garage.

Next year we’ll do a plann the plantings better, giving some things more space than we did this year. That’ll help carrots grow, for instance. And I can definitely do grow lots of potatoes — they take off in tires, buckets, and a whole number of unusual spaces.

One thing I did this past season was to plant along the wooden fence along the back alley. The peas and beans did very well there, getting plenty of water and sun. Next spring I’ll prboably put little planting boxes in there, or at least better build the bottom of the fence.

Urban agriculture springs up where you least expect it. To me, that’s one of the marvelous things about it.

Footnote: The above link goes to the blog 2 Acre Farm. According to, the approximately 75 square feet of growing space at my house in the city of Milwaukee translates 8.33 yd², or 0.001721 acre!  (That’s eleven six-hundred-and-fourthieths for those who are keeping track.)


Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.