Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Raised Bed Number Two--Ready and Waiting

  • Who can find a virtuous woman? her price is far above rubies

  • ...with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard

My honey had an unexpected weekend home last week, so we took advantage of the time and the mild weather to put together a second raised garden bed--just in time for spring planting.

The outside is made of two-by-somethings--(maybe 2 x 10's?) put together with some kind of metal bracket thingies on the inside corners. (Can you handle all of this technical talk? My husband did that part!) The frame is laid directly on the ground, then a layer of newspapers (or cardboard if you have it) is put inside to cover and eventually kill the grass. If you use newspaper, try to make it at least three sheets thick. Wet it down, then just add your dirt right on top. We used bags of garden soil from a building center. Garden soil is cheaper than topsoil or potting soil, and worked well for me this past fall. Of course you don't have to use "bought" dirt, but since we are starting from scratch and don't have compost or anything yet, bought is what we did to get us started. Once the bed is full, use a garden rake to smooth it out, then wet it down pretty well so that it won't blow away. Out frame is eight feet by four feet by about 10 inches deep, and we used 18 cubit feet of dirt.

Can you see our older bed in the background? We made it and planted it for the first time this past fall. It was perfect for me--since I am home alone most of the time, I didn't have to do any tilling, had no problem with weeds, didn't have to do anything heavy duty or beyond my abilities. It looks dead and drab from this perspective, but even now it's still full of life...

The Swiss chard was looking brown and bedraggled, but I cut it back to right above ground level the same day we harvested the carrots not long ago, and it looks like it's coming back nicely. These are the onions I planted in the fall, which didn't seem to do much, but they are actually still alive and growing. I planted seeds instead of "sets", so maybe that's why it's been such slow going. I cleared out the leaves from around them, and plan to leave them alone and see what happens. Hidden among the leaves next to the chard are these blackberry vines my mom and I ordered this winter. I stuck them in and empty spot in the garden bed to "heel in"--they're coming along nicely, but I'm not quite ready to stick them out on their own, so I'll probably leave them where they are for another year before transplanting them, just like these.... ....I know they look like sticks, but they are actually blueberry bushes that haven't grown up yet! They'll probably stay where they are until next year, as well. Meanwhile, I'm browsing the seed catalogs for inspiration. trying to decide what to plant in my new bed, as well as the empty spots in the old one. I'll keep you posted! This post is linked to: Tuesday Garden Party at An Oregon Cottage Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer

Frugal Gardening 101 at Amy's Finer Things Until next time....


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