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Vegetable Garden – Building a Raised Bed

03/31/2010

As I mentioned yesterday, we loosely followed Pioneer Woman’s plans to build a raised vegetable bed. We started out with six 2″x6″ untreated pine boards, 8′ each. (Cedar lasts longer than pine but since we’re not sure if we’ll keep the garden here for the next 10 year, pine will be fine.) We also bought a box of deckmate outdoor screws and a package of 18″ pine stakes.

After sawing two of the boards in half (to 2″x6″x4′), we predrilled holes in each end of the 8′ boards using a simple template. I held the boards together while Jason drilled the screws into place. First level of the frame is built.

We decided where we wanted the bed and then Jason mowed the grass down low in that spot. Next step, pound the stakes into place and screw the frame to the stakes.

The second tier of the walls can be assembles right on top of the first tier, which is now secured to the ground. First, Jason screwed the corners together, then fastened the top tier into each stake. This prevents the boards from warping and bowing. We hope.

PW doesn’t mention doing this but we like to create a barrier between the yard and the new garden soil so the grass (and WEEDS) don’t grow up through. A layer of black trash bags will do the trick.

Next step: DIRT. We bought up all the top soil that the Home Depot had sitting out – 11 cubic feet. I wanted to get at least 16 cu. ft. so we’d have 6″ of fresh soil. To fill in the other 5 cu. ft. we grabbed a few bags of Moo-Nure fertilizer and one bag of Nature’s Helper which “Saves Water / Retains Moisture” (I have no idea what it is.).

Clever bar code placement.

Jason mixing the cow poo in with the top soil and magic water saving stuff.

Here are our greenhouse frames (cold frames) made from old windows. We also have glass windows to set over the top to seal out the cool air. Hopefully the peeling paint is not toxic…

And here are our finished raised vegetable bed.

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Vegetable Garden – Planning

03/30/2010

It’s our fourth summer at this home and we’re putting the vegetable garden in it’s third location to date. This year we decided to building a raised bed for the first time, 4′ x 8′, roughly following Pioneer Woman’s instructions.

Originally I was thinking of doing a square foot garden – giving us space for 32 plants.

But Jason, my green-thumbed husband, said a square foot is not big enough for some of the things we wanted to grow – especially tomatoes. And we didn’t really need 32 different plants. Plus, we have 2 cold frames made from repurposed windows that we decided to use as greenhouses in the vegetable beds during the early spring months. There’s around 3’x3′.

Here’s the plan we came up with:

We’re starting watermelons, brussel and basil seedlings in the greenhouses for now. The cold frame on the left will be home to: strawberries, red bell peppers and green bell peppers. (We decided not to do chili peppers again this year.) The frame on the right with house: better boy tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, grape roma tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. Between the frames we’re going to try out brussel sprouts for the first time. Along the front of the left frame we’re planting romaine lettuce and along the front of the right frame, arugula.

I’m very excited! We’ve never done strawberries or brussel sprouts or romaine lettuce before. We’re trying sugar baby watermelons this year. Besides this 4’x8′ planter we also have a young peach tree and raspberry bush that we have high hopes for this year.

In case anyone is wondering …

Planted from seed:
sweet basil
sugar baby watermelon
brussel sprouts
romaine lettuce
arugula/rocket

Purchased plants:
strawberries (pictured above)
red bell peppers
green bell peppers
grape roma tomatoes
cherry tomatoes
beefsteak tomatoes
better boy tomatoes