Black Forest Community Center Demonstration Gardens

Many people in the Black Forest have trouble gardening in our high altitude, climate, and animals. This demonstration garden is designed to help you create your own successful garden space here in Black Forest.

There are two major types environment struggles that we are addressing with our hoop gardens.  The first issue is weather woes. This includes hail protection and extending our short growing season.  The second is critter control. We need to prevent deer, rabbits, gophers, and grasshoppers from eating our gardens.

Weather Protection

All of our structures are covered with hail cloth, also called Anti-Hail Netting. This stretchy mesh prevents hail damage.  The demonstration gardens all have hoops or arches over them and are covered with with hail cloth to protect the plants from storms.  The cattle panel garden can also be covered with greenhouse plastic to create a greenhouse and to extend your growing season.

Critter Control

All three demonstration gardens are enclosed to keep animals out.  The details for each garden describe different techniques for keeping animals out of your garden.

Raised Bed Garden

Raised bed gardens are among the easiest styles for starting a garden. At its most basic, a raised bed garden in a box full of good garden soil, and in our climate, outfitted with a hail cover.  For our demonstration garden, we created a simple box, and installed PVC arches for the hail cover.

This is the smallest of our three demonstration gardens.

Cattle Panel Garden

Our Cattle Panel garden uses two cattle panels to create an arch over two raised beds. Cattle panels are 16 feet long, so when used to create an arch, this type of garden creates a fairly narrow, high tunnel.  They are about 7 feet wide. Our garden is 8 feet long, but this style can be made much longer than our demonstration garden simply by using more panels. Jill, the builder of this garden, has two tunnels that are each about 33 feet long.

This type of garden has a strong arch that can be enclosed in greenhouse plastic to create a greenhouse and extend your growing season.

Conduit Arch Garden

Our Conduit Arch garden uses two 10 foot pieces of conduit, for 20 feet of arch.  The original design for this garden uses a 30 foot span of conduit for the arch, so it can be scaled up to a cover a wider garden than the cattle panel garden.  We created a smaller version of the conduit arch to fit our space.  Don, the builder of this garden, used 30 feet of conduit for the arches in his own garden. The details for this garden also include a picture of the larger version of the garden.

In this garden, we are using a technique called Back to Eden Gardening instead of a raised bed. It’s a popular approach here in Black Forest that makes great use of our local Slash and Mulch site.

Winterizing, End Enclosures, and More

Winterizing your structure is essential. Take a few moments to learn more about effectively winterizing your structure so you can use it again next year!

We also have some tips regarding End Enclosures and additional design ideas.

Simple Pump

The Black Forest Community Club installed a Simple Pump uphill and just to the east of the demonstration garden. This manual pump does not need electricity to work. 

Thank You to our garden sponsors!

made a generous monetary donation.  They helped keep our lumber costs down.

donated their Flower and Garden Mix for our raised beds and compost for our conduit arch garden. 

provided all of the mulch for our gardens.

BF Victory Garden Club

was founded by Paul Smith and Emmy McAllister. Our cattle panel and conduit arch gardens are inspired by Paul’s designs. The garden club is an invaluable resource for local gardens. For information about the club please see Emmy’s welcome letter.  

provided the location for our demonstration garden in The Backyard area of the property. 

made this project possible with their generous donations.  We would not have been able to do this without all of them!