When my good friend encouraged me to start a garden again a couple years ago it wasn’t even a question for me. I was doing raised beds again. I had some raised bed gardens at our last house and loved them. The main reason for going that route was I didn’t have a tiller to use and wouldn’t have to rely on my husbands lack of free time to till for me if we did have one.
As you can see from my first post, I do not have fancy beds. I purchased some 2” thick by 8”-10” wide boards at Lowes (they will cut your wood to length for free). I just went with regular wood – I’ll have to eventually replace them but they were cheap! I pre-drilled holes on the end boards to make the screws go in easier then had my son hold the boards while I screwed them together. Easy-peasy!
Then the real work began. After figuring where I wanted them I spread cardboard or newspapers along the bottom to help kill the grass and weeds. Next I laid down a layer of shredded leaves. If you have a bagger for your mower I highly suggest mulching your leaves this way then pile them up or add them to your compost pile (I’ll talk about compost piles another day). From there you want to layer your bed with manure, compost, top soil and peat moss. Then, believe it or not you are ready to plant. If it’s too cold in your area, throw a tarp or black plastic trash bags over your bed to let it “cook”. I highly suggest the book Lasagna Gardening if you are going to do raised beds – it’s the best way to go in my humble opinion.
Since starting my beds, I have added a couple new beds each year. I have plans to add a few more this spring. I am not against a regular tilled bed – I actually put one of those in this past year to plant corn (my friend’s hubby came and tilled it up for me), and considering how sandy our soil is here it actually did pretty good. I’ll touch on that in another post as well.
Here is what my beds looked like last spring. You can see the new ones I put in with black plastic over them.
This year I want to add another square where my cold frame is sitting then do a long one across the bottom – will actually be two beds together where I plan to trellis my cucumbers. I’m hoping this year I can put something down between the beds (woodchips?) so we don’t have to mow between them. Eventually I would like to put a rustic style fence around all this with flowers growing against it.
If you have pictures of your garden from last year I would love to see them. I enjoy touring gardens to get ideas so send me links to your blog or website. I may even feature them here!
Until next time – Happy Gardening!