What Should I Plant in my Raised Garden Beds? Excellent Question!!

Filed under :Gardening - producing your own food, Raised Bed Gardening

Isn’t this garden awesome?  I found this at http://www.thegardenglove.com/raised-vegetable-garden-beds/  I love the way they’ve used pavers set in sand (so rain water can still seep thru to and into the ground) to eliminate having to mow grass between the beds.

So what’s next after you’ve built your raised vegetable garden?  What are you doing to plant?  If you’re like me, you’ll spend hours deciding what is going where.  And there’s so many other things you’ll need to consider as well.  Let’s talk about it.

First – you really need to consider what time of the year that you’ll be ready to plant.  Is it early Spring, late Spring, early Summer, etc.  Why is this important?  Well, different vegetables grow better during different seasons.  So you’ll want to familiarize yourself with this information.

Second – what produce do you or your family eat?   While turnip greens might seem like they would be easy and fast to grow, does you or your family eat them?    Only plan on growing what you know your family will consume.  If you’re not into broccoli, then don’t waste the space growing it.

Third – What grows well in your gardening zone?  For example, vegetables with very long mature dates do not grow well in northern zones due to the shorter growing season.

Fourth – How many plants of each vegetable do you really need?   If you rarely eat lettuce, maybe you only need a couple of plants compared to someone who loves to eat salads everyday that would need a bed full of lettuce plants.

Fifth – When you harvest your first planting of radishes, what are you going to “succession plant” in the vacant space?

Sixth – Are you going to “direct seed” or use transplants (seedlings)?  If you are going to use seedlings, are you going to purchase them or grow them yourself from seed?

I hope these questions help to lead you in the right direction with your plantings in your new raised garden beds.  I will continue to write more posts about gardening and growing your own fresh produce.

SOIL for Your Raised Bed Vegetable Garden – An Easy HOW-TO Guide

Filed under :Gardening - producing your own food, Raised Bed Gardening

Usually with a raised bed vegetable garden, the soil will require a little investment.  It’s one of those things that you are not going to want to ”skimp” on.  You’re going to want to make sure you get started off on the right foot.  When talking about soil, you are going to want to make sure that you’re starting off with “sterile” soil – that is soil that is free from bugs and weed/grass seeds.    And it’s really easy to do.  I’m going to show you two ways to get started with getting soil for your raised bed vegetable garden –

  1. #1 the first method will be fast, simple, and easy but will require some $ investment on your part
  2. #2 the second method will be slower, still simple and easy but will require little to no $ investment on your part

So let’s start with method #1.  If you are starting off with a small vegetable garden and would like to get your seeds and/or plants into the ground and growing as soon as possible, I highly recommend a couple of different methods that will get your garden started off on the right foot.  Each of these methods will require some $ investment – one a little more than the other – but you’ll be able to immediately get your seeds and plants in the ground and be assured of clean, sterile and high soil that you will only need to “amend” to continue gardening in the future.

I recommend purchasing Miracle-Gro® All Purpose Garden Soil to fill your raised bed if you have a small raised bed.  This soil is sterile and ready to go.  Each time you harvest and then “re-plant”, you will need to amend the soil by adding a scoop of organic compost where you are going to plant the seed or vegetable seedling.  Each of the large bags contain 2 cubic feet of soil – this will cover an area 2 ft wide x 2 ft long x 6 inches deep.   So, if you had a 4′x4′ raised bed, you would need 4 bags to fill your garden (if your intended depth is 6 inches of soil).  If you use this method of filling your raised bed with soil, you will start with a good, sterile and enriched soil that will just require organic compost amendments in the future.  Miracle-Gro also makes a “raised bed” garden soil as well – but I haven’t seen that around the area that I live in.

My second recommendation would be to create your garden soil by using a mixture of vermiculite, cow manure and mushroom compost, and sphagnum peat moss (recipe is 1/3 by volume of each material).   This involves a little more time to acquire all the materials and mix them before filling your garden bed.   But once again, you’ll be starting with a sterile soil that is rich in nutrients to grow your vegetables.   As with the 1st recommendation above, you’ll need to continue to amend the soil with compost each time you replant.

Now on to method #2.  This method will take a good deal longer to achieve but you’ll  be able to use items that you normally throw away to create amazing soil for your garden.  Create a composite bin from old pallets.  Fill your compost bin with “browns” and “greens”.   Browns are typically your carbon type materials like fallens leaves, cardboard, etc.  Greens are items like vegetable scraps, green lawn clippings, coffee grounds, etc.  You want to achieve a ratio of 1:1 browns to greens.  It will take several months for your compost pile to heat up and transform into rich soil.  So if you have some time to plan, then you can actually create your own garden soil to fill your vegetable beds.

After filling your raised vegetable beds with soil, you’ll want to provide some type of “mulch” to cover the soil.  This will help to hold the moisture in the soil (due to evaporation) and keep your soil cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.  Another reason I prefer to mulch my raised beds is to keep the soil from splashing on the underside leaves of my vegetable plants when I water or when it rains.

There are also other methods of filling your raised garden bed with soil – i.e. lasagna gardening, etc.  I’d love to hear from your – what have you used to build your garden soil in your raised beds?

Frugal Gardening Tips! Building A Raised Bed with FREE Materials

Filed under :Gardening - producing your own food, Raised Bed Gardening

How do you even get started?  Well, that is a great question and we’re going to talk about some ideas that will help!  First, a raised bed?  What is a “raised bed” garden?    When we talk about a raised bed method of gardening, it means that we are gardening above the normal level of the soil in some sort of container.  The container can be wooden, plastic or made from some other material.   The soil that you are growing in, is contained and raised to prevent soil erosion and to promote good drainage.  Your garden area is separate from the rest of your yard.

The raised bed also help to make it a little easier to stoop over or bend over when you are maintaining your garden or harvesting from garden.  It helps to keep weeds out as well because you have concentrated all of your garden area into one space that you will mulch.  Also, when you are mowing, the raised bed helps to keep grass seed from being blown in.

I highly recommend the raised bed method over the traditional “row” garden method.  But let’s get back to the “how do I get started” question.  Building your 1st raised bed is easy and can cost you nearly nothing at all.  Materials can be unused items you may already have or even free items that are easily obtainable.  I suggest that before you invest a lot of time and money into purchasing materials to build a raised bed, or purchasing a pre-made raised garden, first make a bed out of “FREE” materials and see if raised bed gardening is something that you are really interested in.

First, let’s go back to the definition of a raised bed.  A raised bed is basically a “container” that you build that is higher than the normal soil level.  The two things that we are going to discuss in this post is what materials you’ll need to build the “container” (the raised bed frame) and what materials (soil) you’ll need to fill the “container”.  In this post, we are going to address the actual garden “container” materials – what you can build your garden from.  And more specifically, what FREE materials you can use that make excellent raised beds.  In the next post, we’ll discuss what to use as soil to fill your raised bed.

Raised bed container materials — as I mentioned above, you may already have the materials that you’ll need to build the “container” in your shed!  Or it maybe that you can easily and cheaply obtain items that you can use.  Raised beds can be constructed from many different items – here’s a list of suggestions from raised beds that I’ve seen:

There are so many different options and it really just depends on your preferences or what items you may have available. I’ve tried to give you some inspiration in the ideas and photos above.   Be creative!!