How Does Your Garden Grow?

Last year I was inspired by these raised garden beds that Kit from DIY Diva built with cedar fencing for only $25 each.

A few years ago, we had a garden that was about 25 feet square.  Half of it was strawberries and those rarely even made it into the house when the kids picked them – delicious!

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For a while the garden got away from me, and then we moved the kids play area into that space (see photo above) to make room for the pool in the backyard.  I thought about putting raised beds next to the pool, since this was the only relatively flat, sunny space in our backyard.  When we had our pool installed, it ended up turned to the side to accommodate our septic system, so that idea was nixed.

I moved on to Plan B, next to the fence on the side of our yard.  The area is lightly sloped, so I knew that tiers could work and after observing the sun for a few days, I realized that it was pretty sunny, too.

Raised Garden Beds |www.countingwillows.com

I was not blogging when I built these beds, so I can really only give a general overview of how we did it.  But, Kit has a great tutorial on her site, so head over there to get instructions.

Raised Garden Beds |www.countingwillows.com

Steve and I headed to his favorite home store (Menard’s) and picked out some 8 foot long 1×6″ cedar boards, plus two 1×1″ boards to attach to the corners and center of each side to steak in the ground.  Steve cut the end of each of the 1×1″ pieces so they came to a point and would go into the ground better.  By using 2 – 8′ boards for the long sides, and one 8′ board cut in half for the short sides, we ended up with raised beds that are about 4′x8′.  We lined 4 in a row along our fence shortly before winter arrived last fall.

Raised Garden Beds |www.countingwillows.com

Now that the harshest of winters has passed, we ordered up some garden mix (black dirt/compost/sand combination) and filled each bed with soil.  We put a little bit of black dirt into one bed last fall so we could transplant some rhubarb that was growing by our shed.  Happily, it is tough to kill rhubarb, and it all has come back this year in the new garden space.  We did not line any of the beds and we put them over our existing soil.  So, even though it is only about 5 inches of rich garden soil, the roots can grow deeper if we grow something that needs more space.

Raised Garden Beds |www.countingwillows.com

Of course, you cannot see  it yet (nothing has germinated), but we already planted the cool weather crops – snow peas, radishes, carrots, lettuce, spinach and onions.

Raised Garden Beds |www.countingwillows.com

This week is a bit chilly, but I think by this weekend I will be able to plant the rest:  bush beans, zucchini, pumpkins, cucumbers, basil, thyme, chives and hopefully one whole bed of strawberries!  We will have to wait a while for the strawberries to bear fruit (maybe next year), but if we don’t get ‘em in, then we won’t ever get tasty strawberries from our yard, right?  tomatoes and peppers will need to wait one more week before being planted (boo), but they will yield more if we wait just a bit longer to put them in the ground.

Raised Garden Beds |www.countingwillows.com

I get so excited about these beds bustling with growing herbs and vegetables (and fruit!).  I can’t wait for the height of garden season to hit!

Any one else anticipating a full garden this year?  Or do you prefer to hit up the farmer’s market (also a great source of homegrown goodness)?

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