I am the kind of person that is a bit cautious, yet still curious to see if something I think of works. With this in mind I have now tried two things that worked fairly well but my wife says the one thing I did looks like a kids plastic tepee and the other experiment looked better but took over half of our front porch and blocked the mailbox, which the postman was not thrilled about.
You see, I love tomatoes. Not just any tomatoes; homegrown tomatoes. Once you have eaten homegrown tomatoes you cannot in good faith go back to store bought tomatoes; organic or not. They just do not taste the same! Because of this, up until I put a garden in two years ago, I have not eaten fresh tomatoes. The first year I ate my tomatoes right up until the first frost, picked everything big enough to bring in and let the plants die with the freeze.
Once I ran out, I had fresh tomato withdrawal. So the next year I built out of strips of wood and plastic an enclosure on my front porch for some salad tomatoes, spinach, lettuce and broccoli. It worked out pretty good and we had fresh salads through January. I also used it in the spring to start some seeds that were ready to replant after the last freeze. Just a quick note: I kept the enclosure warm on the worst nights by boiling water in a large pot and set it inside the plastic right before I would go to bed. It worked well.
My tepee experience was a little different. Though it worked okay, it did look pretty bad and there was no way to heat it. I have a raised bed of Roma and Big Boy tomatoes and basil that always do very well. After a great Indian summer there were blooms and tomatoes all over the plants and I wanted to preserve as much as I could as long as I could. I built this plastic wall out of strips of wood and plastic and stacked them like a tepee around the raised bed. It worked well except when it was really windy or very cold.
Once I took the tepee down my wife asked me to do something different this year so she could have her beautiful yard and front porch back. She also mentioned something about me not hauling water outside every night in the freezing cold as well. I guess coming to bed with cold feet every night was not her idea of fun! So we agreed that I would purchase a real home greenhouse this year and a heater.
All I can tell you is; so far so good. I had a blast getting it put together and set up. It was a lot easier than I had thought it was going to be. I enjoyed working with my wife to get everything ready for the plants to go in the garden greenhouse this fall. We planted what we like to eat and have also added a lemon tree. Not sure how everything is going to turn out but I feel confident that after having success with a plastic tepee and a space walled off on in plastic on my front porch, this is going to be great!