Earlier this year we stumbled upon what looked like the ideal solution to our gardening troubles: a Vegepod. The Vegepod is a container gardening system that includes a domed mesh cover along with a built-in irrigation system. It comes in three sizes with a variety of accessories to fit every gardener’s needs.
*PLEASE NOTE: We do not sell or profit in any way from Vegepods. We are sharing our Vegepod gardening experience for information purposes only.
Our Garden Fails
First Garden – Summer of 2019
One thing we always planned on having on our little homestead was a vegetable garden. We are surrounded by forest, however, so we knew in-ground planting, even with fencing, wasn’t likely to keep hungry, determined critters away. So we built ourselves some raised beds surrounded by wire mesh.
We thought we were oh-so clever!
This first year, our “garden room” served us relatively well even if our yields weren’t as abundant as we’d hoped. The structure kept the deer and rabbits away, and we enjoyed a modest harvest of vegetables including lettuces, kale, banana peppers, hot peppers, bell peppers, Bradley and German Johnson tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes.
While our garden wasn’t going to be featured in Mother Earth News, we did think we were off to a decent enough start.
Second Garden – Summer of 2020
Since our first garden did fairly well, we decided to go bigger the following summer. We added cucumbers to the enclosed bed along with some onions and garlic.
Then we got really daring. Using plastic garden fencing, we created a few enclosures around the yard for in-ground watermelon and cantaloupes. We bunched plant netting around the melon blossoms and developing fruit for protection.
The season that started so promising ultimately left us disappointed, though. Why? Because this was the summer the forest critters realized what we were up to! The onslaught of squirrels, raccoons, possums, birds, and bugs all wanting to sample our tasty plants proved too much. We did our best to fortify enclosures and apply organic pest remedies but without much success. Our harvest was dismal.
What’s more, the enclosed garden structure itself wasn’t holding up so well. To keep costs down, we had used lower-priced “imperfect” lumber to build the garden beds. Now, after two years in the elements, many of the boards were breaking apart and crumbling.
By the time autumn rolled around, we decided to cut our losses and not repair the structure. Instead, disappointed our efforts hadn’t proved as clever as we’d thought, we tore the whole thing down and started thinking about a greenhouse.
COVID and Our Greenhouse Plans
After investing a lot of time, sweat, and money into two summer gardens that gave us only limited harvests, we decided a greenhouse would be our best option for future gardening efforts. A greenhouse would not only protect against insects and foraging animals but also extend our growing season.
Our dream goal, actually, is to build a “sitting room” addition along the west-facing side of our cabin to which we will attach a walk-in greenhouse. We were just starting to give this sizable project serious consideration when COVID swept the globe.
Anyone with DIY tendencies knows what the pandemic did to both the cost and availability of building materials. We were lucky enough to get a few large projects completed during the early stages of the pandemic (including a “guest shabin” for a family member to call home during lock-down and a new deck for our cabin). As 2020 progressed, however, we realized we didn’t want to take on such a large construction project amid sky-rocketing lumber costs and material scarcity.
The room addition with attached greenhouse would have to wait.
Have Buckets, We’ll Grow
When spring 2021 rolled around, we were less than enthusiastic about our summer gardening prospects. Two years of hard work and high hopes had produced only mediocre results. We weren’t willing to spend another summer sweating for nothing.
But we weren’t willing to grow nothing at all, either!
With a proverbial shrug, we decided to limit our efforts to a few containers of tomato and pepper plants. These were the veggies we’d had the best luck with the prior two summers and felt confident we could grow again.
Our containers of choice were five-gallon buckets we already had on hand into which we’d already drilled drainage holes.
We bought a few flats of Better Boy tomatoes, some sweet peppers, and one well-established cherry tomato plant to put in the buckets. We placed them all in a sunny patch as close to our cabin as we could (closer than most of the area’s wildlife care to tread). Then we strung some plastic fencing around the perimeter of the containers and called it a garden.
We honestly can’t complain about the success of our “bucket garden.” Our financial investment and physical effort were minimal, but we’ve enjoyed a steady supply of delicious tomatoes and peppers most of the summer.
Discovering The Vegepod
I first spied the Vegepod growing system while scrolling posts on Instagram. What I saw was a sturdy planter with a formidable protective cover that kept out pests but let in sun and rain and also included an irrigation hose. After all our gardening struggles, you bet I was intrigued!
We spent a few weeks learning about how the Vegepod works and the different optional accessories that supplement the system. Following along on Instagram, we saw how Vegepods work in all kinds of settings, from large open yards like ours to tiny apartment balconies. They were all overflowing with all kinds of veggies imaginable, but mainly leafy greens.
Let Us Grow Lettuce
What most attracted me to the Vegepod was my desire to grow an abundance of leafy greens. We live a good distance from town, so our grocery visits are limited. Keeping fresh salad greens on hand is always a struggle. Growing our own would be the ideal solution.
Choosing Our Vegepod
It didn’t take much to convince us to splurge on a Vegepod. We used our August wedding anniversary as an excuse to treat ourselves. We decided we wanted to dive right in with a fall garden.
The Vegepod comes in Small, Medium, and Large. We didn’t want to start out investing in the largest and most expensive option, but the smallest Vegepod didn’t seem adequate for our needs (though I’m already thinking I’d love to get one for the deck just for growing kitchen herbs). We finally settled on:
- Medium Vegepod
- Medium Stand
- Greenhouse Cover
Once ordered, our Vegepod shipped promptly and arrived quickly in perfect condition. The Greenhouse Cover was packed in a separate envelope but was delivered at the same time as the Vegepod itself.
The next steps would be buying seeds, assembling our Vegepod, and finding the ideal location for our first cool-weather crops.
You can learn all about putting a medium Vegepod together in the next installment of our series How to Assemble A Vegepod – Our Experience, Part Two.