Friday, May 16, 2014

Let's talk raised beds...

There are many reasons to grow your garden in a raised can create the perfect soil mixture your plants, alleviating the anguish and inevitable feeling of failure associated with growing in heavy clay or tree root-infested soils (ask me how I know). Raised beds eliminate the need or heavy equipment to till up the soil and you don't have to worry about soil compaction because you're eliminating the need (and ability) to walk directly on the garden. Raised beds allow for soil drainage (a pro and a con), something my heavy clay soil does not do. They warm up quicker to allow for earlier planting in the spring and extended growing in the fall and they just look great, especially when they are loaded with ripe tomatoes, peppers and ground cherries.

Why yes I do have 18 raised beds in my front yard...don't you?

I decided to build raised beds several years ago because the soil at my house is horrible. However, being the frugal person that I am, I did not want to shell out big bucks for cedar 2"x10' I did what any rational person would do...I googled raised beds to see if I could come up with a cheaper alternative. Fortunately, I stumbled across a blog that mentioned using cedar fence posts and I had my eureka moment. I'm not one for following a plan, so I devised my own simple boxes consisting of 6 6' untreated cedar fence posts & 6 12" lengths of 2"x4"s - 2 cedar posts per 6' side (giving it a 12" depth) and 1 cedar post cut in half (3') for each end. I simply used 2"x4"s for the corners and added another for support in the middle and waaaalaaa....a 6'x3'x12" raised bed is born. 

The 5 newest beds are on the left

If you'd prefer working from a plan...check out this site.

Fast forward a couple years and I've got 18 beds in my front yard with plans to expand. From what I've read, these beds should last 4-5 years. I'm only a couple years in, so I should have a few years left. Maybe at that point in time I'll be able to afford cedar 2"x10's...but probably not.

Here they are planted with this year's garden - early May 2014

last year's garden - July 2013

Here's what I'm really looking forward to! This is last year's garden in July 2013. I can almost taste those tomatoes!

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