Planning the Garden

It was so unbearably hot last spring/summer that we didn’t bother with a garden. It would have been a disaster. The year before, we did away with our raised beds (which were in rough shape after a few years of use) and planted the garden the old fashioned way – directly in the soil. We had some runoff problems and a lot of the good soil was carried away. I tried to divert the water using concrete blocks with minimal success. The garden was fairly decent, but not as nice as when we used raised beds. So, this year, it’s back to raised beds!

Raised beds are a breeze to weed and the plants love stretching their toes in the loose, rich soil. The beauty of gardening in raised beds is that it is possible to plant more vegetables in less space using the square foot gardening method. I highly recommend All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space! by Mel Bartholomew. In fact, I just started re-reading my copy this week. For gardeners, reading gardening books and magazines is the equivalent of kids watching Christmas specials in anticipation of Christmas… and looking through seed catalogs is like drooling over the Sears Wish Book.

There are all kinds of fancy, pre-built raised bed systems available, but we’re going to save a few bucks and build our own from scratch… which is what we did the last time. The beds lasted a few years and that was good enough for me. One idea is to use Trex decking. It doesn’t rot, fade, or split. Oh… and it costs $45 for a 20 foot board. I think I’ll go with the stuff (uh, wood) that rots, fades, and splits.

Photos of our old raised beds and a few of the vegetables that we grew in them.

Alternatives to building your own!

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9 thoughts on “Planning the Garden

  1. Great looking gardens! I’ve done the Square Foot gardening thing, thanks to Kelley and Ginger (They gave me the book.). It’s amazing how many vegetables you can get out of one raised bed. I made my 4′ X 4′ frame out of cedar and have used it for three years now.

  2. Well, it’s just a patch of mowed down weedy grass right now (not too beautiful). We let it fill in last year when we didn’t have a garden. You’re right. It IS amazing how much produce can come from such a small space.

    • I’m looking forward to seeing your new raised beds. I mentioned using cedar to make the frame for my Square Foot garden. It’s possible that the wood was redwood. Does it actually matter. Would cedar be okay to use for vegetables?

      • Sure. Cedar is okay… redwood, too. I did a little research and found that people use all kinds of things: cinder blocks, railroad ties, logs, tires, and 2×4’s. I don’t really think it matters. I do know that I’m not using pressure treated lumber. The chemicals in the new pressure treated wood aren’t as bad as the original stuff, but still. If it’s safe and it keeps the soil from seeping out, it’s okay!

  3. Let me tell you….it’s been a mighty looonnnggg winter here in WI! So when some
    seed catalogs came in the mail last week, Ginger was soon drooling over them. It’s
    great to finally start planning a garden. Happy growing season, all!

    • Love, love, LOVE the raised bed corners! Thanks for the link. I just contacted them about writing a post about their product.

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