Growing in Raised Beds
These pictures are from our first year using raised beds in our vegetable garden. Truth be told, I wanted to try raised beds for a long time, but finding the time to plan it out and get it built with one child and one on the way was another story. In the fall of 2016, it finally happened. They were built using 10″ wide, 2″ thick, rough-cut, untreated hemlock boards. Each bed a simple rectangle measuring 4′ x 8′, 4′ x 12′ or 3′ x 10′. Making the phone call to order in soil and compost with a dump truck was the easy part! The filling of wheelbarrows and countless trips to the beds from the massive piles was WORK, but how happy I was to fill each one knowing that the following Spring would mean I had a clean slate and less work! I decided to companion plant and succession plant… and how pretty it turned out! Not only did I get an abundance of fruits and vegetables, but it looked beautiful and put together. Here were my takeaways & the benefits:
- Minimal, easy weeding (no tilling which means less weed seeds get in to the soil to germinate!)
- The soil warms up quicker than the ground allowing a head start for some vegetables/fruit
- Companion planting works and looks beautiful! Using flowers such as calendulas and nasturtiums as well as herbs like basil and dill to repel bad bugs and attract pollinators was a win!
- Less back strain as you are not bending down so far ( depending on how deep your beds are)
- It kept my kids walking on the paths instead of the soil (Soil compaction is no good!)
- They were visually appealing and functional.
- My future dreams include drip irrigation but one must first have some extra money lying around, that of which I do not. So hoses and watering cans will do for now.
If you want to see our garden and how we maximized our growing spaces, check out this video: How We Created A Vegetable Garden Design With Limited Garden Space
We’re looking forward to this year bringing in even more produce and fruit. I will pay special attention to rotating crops in order to keep soil borne diseases at a minimum. Now, if we could just get our Spring to feel like Spring! I know this awful weather pattern will break, and when it does, we will have a fabulous season ahead of us!