Setting up a "Winter" raised Garden bed

Like so many Georgians, I wanted to have a small vegetable garden but found that the local hard packed clay soil wasn't suitable for one. Then I became aware of a gardening concept called "raised garden beds" which I found out is a garden built of a wooden frame which can be filled with locally bought bags of humus, top soil and compost.
I had heard that cedar decking planks would be ideal for the construction of such a garden due to its resistance to rot and insects invasion, so I purchased enough lumber to build a garden measuring 8 ft. long and 4 ft. wide. Since i had read that it is desirable to have the garden at least 12 inches high I built two frames and stacked them one atop the other since the planks were about 6 inches wide.
The corners were securely joined using metal angles bought at the hardware store and I used wooden dowels to secure the top level to the bottom level. The screws are special ones used for building decks and are treated to resist rust.
Next I purchased about $35.00 worth of the soil needed from the local garden center to fill the frame . The soil comes in 40 pound bags each costing between 95 cents to $1.25 each. I calculate that I needed 24 bags of the soil for my 4 ft. by 8 ft. by 12 inch high garden.
As i filled the raised garden I blended the various soils I had bought and added turkey litter fertilizer which is used extensively on golf courses and is organic. It cost $28.00 for a fifty pound bag. I had prepared a coffee can with large holes drilled into it as a shaker to apply the litter. As each bag of soil was added I would sprinkle additional fertilizer into the build up of soil. This way I was assured that the needed nutrients for the growth of vegetables was distributed throughout the soil.
Since seedlings are so inexpensive at the garden center I chose to buy and plant them rather than growing from seed myself indoors.
As might be expected, the garden flourished during the spring and summer. But with autumn approaching I decided to replant as a winter garden. I found that the garden center was selling vegetables such as cabbage, collards, broccoli, and cauliflower seedlings in September. So I added a bit more fertilizer into my soil mix and planted each of these varieties.
Much to my wonderment, the garden began to grow very rapidly. The greatest benefit came when i realized that the same vegetables that had been planted in the spring and had been literally eaten up by bugs had not been touch by insects in the fall.
The growing time for the vegetables I planted was listed as 90 days an it was plain to see that frost might become an issue. With this in mind, I made preparations at the first prediction of an October frost to afford some protection to the garden.
The solution was simple. I bought two metal garden stakes and drove them into each end of the garden. Next, I attached a piece of square cut lumber long enough to reach from one stake to the other. I joined the wood by installing screws through the top holes of the stakes into the ends of the wood. This provided a means to drape a suitable tarpaulin over it to form a tent which was secured along the bottom to keep the wind from affecting it. As an added precaution I ran an extension cord with a 100 watt light bulb and hung it from the top of the frame so that it would not touch the material or the plants as a source of heat. The tent was easily closed at each end using clothes pins. The tent is easily removed once the frost danger was past and mild weather ensued.
I am looking forward to enjoying Christmas dinner with fresh home grown broccoli and cauliflower and then a New Years Day "good luck" feast of fresh collards to go with my black eyed peas and ham hocks, a southern tradition.
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Jay wrote:

Excellent. But do not worry too much about the frost. First, many winter vegetables are better after frost. Second, many (though not all of them) keep growing after a frost. I am in Michigan and I regularly have several uncovered veggies for Thanksgiving, and after covering with plastic (hoophouse), I harvest well into february. To some extent, the winter garden is more valuable to me than the summer one. The veggies are more nutritious, more precious. In the summer, strictly speaking, I don't need to garden, with farmer markets, CSA, and neighbors overflowing with tomatoes and zucchini. In the winter, those collards and radicchios are all there is.
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Look up "Square Foot Gardening" on google.
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Cool,
I would like to grow spinach this fall and winter. I grew it all winter in a unheated greenhouse were I used to live, a while back.
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