Posts Tagged ‘raised bed gardening’

…there was a little area of our yard that looked like it belonged to our next door neighbor’s property. Years ago my daughter and her friend used to play catch there, as it was one of the only relatively level areas of our quirky but lovely, sloped yard.

Last winter I decided to put an organic vegetable garden in that spot, partly in response to the fact that I, like millions of Americans, had been laid off and it seemed like a productive use of my now ample, free time. And partly because I was tired of paying exorbitant prices for organic produce at our local Whole Foods. I had belonged to a couple of different CSAs, but they involved long-ish car rides and restrictive pick-up times, and our local farmer’s market organic offerings weren’t always what I wanted or needed.  I liked the idea of walking right out my kitchen door to pick produce that we liked to eat, and was really local, clean, fresh and “free!”

I possessed some vegetable gardening know-how. When I lived closer to the city, I lovingly maintained a small community garden plot. But that was some time ago, so I needed to do some research.  I spent hours pouring through organic gardening books and visiting web sites and blogs until I formulated a plan for a 20′ x 40′  raised bed garden plot designed to feed two.

My husband and I discussed the pros and cons and costs of the raised bed box material: stone; treated limber; composite material, pine and in the end decided on kiln-dried pine for health and cost.  In early spring we got to work.

Before we constructed the boxes, we coated all the wood with two coats of boiled linseed oil. We reinforced the corners of each box with composite posts that actually made ground contact and slightly elevated the box above the soil. Each plank was screwed to the post, with the idea that if we needed to replace them due to decay, each plank could be unscrewed from the post and a replacement attached. We decided to enclose the entire garden with fencing — pressure treated spruce — and line the fencing with rabbit wire sunk to a depth of 6 inches.

Lining the Raised Bed Box

Lining the box to provide some protection from rot.

Filling the bed with organic soil.

Filling the bed with organic soil.

The fencing arrives!

The fencing gets delivered!

The completed garden in May

The almost completed garden at planting time in May.

Unfortunately we lost more photos taken over the summer, so I can’t show our results.  Everything we transplanted from other parts of our yard: herbs, black raspberries, rhubarb, and strawberries, and even our asparagus all thrived and produced yields. The tomato blight that struck the Northeast hit us as well so tomatos were a bust. And our vine plants were hit by a blight so that only our cucumbers were prolific.

But now everything is in place for the new year…

…and the picket fence garden lies at rest under the snow as I dream and plan for this spring!

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