Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Our raised bed garden... the beginning

It continues to rain so I'm thinking perhaps we should have built an ark instead of a garden. However, having some amount of faith that we will indeed see warm weather and sunshine again, I'm glad our budget and time has been spent in becoming a little more self sufficient.

We spent a couple weeks looking through raised bed gardens on blogs and websites. He ended up with a combination of The Pioneer Woman and Manuela's gardens, along with suggestions from his best friend in Michigan (who, in his former home, plowed his entire backyard to use as a garden!).

I will loosely use the term "we" although I did help sometimes. However, I was the helper and in no way the designer or real builder. We are building in phases due to very limited financial resources but it is far better to start something now than wait for perfect circumstances. :)

This year we built the main garden, including staking it and putting up chicken wire (now called poultry fabric or something like that, hehehe... how sophisticated) to keep most of the critters out.

That board you see laying on the ground is what he hopes to find more of to place around the bottom of the fence. I love watching the antics of the chipmunk family in which we share our country home so I make concessions to live in harmony... the fence and the lumber being that concession.

We laid the black garden "fabric" in the entire area, placing layers of newspaper under the areas there will be no raised bed garden to help keep grass from growing in it. We figure if there is almost a foot of dirt on top, those areas are not going to grow grass through the fabric, anyway.

Hubby built two rectangles in the driveway and then moved them and placed them together once inside the fence. He filled the less deep one with soil from the creek bed and our own compost first. Later he brought up more soil for the deeper raised bed. Next year we will switch what we've grown in each as we now know the one closer to the house gets more direct sun.

We also made the decision to add three square raised bed gardens in the remaining area instead of two more rectangle beds. That was my decision after reading more about various soil types. I'd like to make one of those beds just for strawberry plants and then use one of them just for tomatoes, too (next year). That will give us five options for specific soil formulas. Not that we did any soil formulas this year but we're learning as we go.

Anyhoo, you can see the area where the remaining raised beds will go... use your imagination... they will be there (hopefully) by next Spring.

I did help "rig up" a temporary gate for this year. Next year we'll put in something better but this will work fine this year. That picture will come once we have some dry weather.

As for the rhubarb and tomatoes I planted where the old compost pile used to be, they seem to be growing fine. We can't harvest any rhubarb this year but it looks nice and healthy. The tomato plants are doing great considering they only receive full sun part of the day.


scrappy quilter said...

Looking good. Doesn't it feel good to become just a bit more self-sufficient. Love it!!

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

Your garden looks so organized. Does that surprise me?No,of course not. I loved you talking about the rhubarb. When I lived in Indiana we had it in our backyard and my mother made pies. I mentioned it the other day and a few of the girls that work for me didn't even know what it was. It has a tartness that is just right with sugar and lots of love.Yummy.

cheri said...

You will really enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor. There is nothing like going out the back door and pickin' a mess of somethin' to serve with supper.

Your garden looks great!

Elizabeth said...

Garden area looking great. Brenda you need to remember not to plant tomatoes in the exact same bed year after year, they will be more prone to disease if you do. I want some rhubarb but hubby thinks it is awful. lol Since I grow bell peppers for him I said we had to grow rhubarb for me.

the pleasures of homemaking said...

Brenda, this is wonderful! I wouldn't worry about getting specific with soil requirements and like Elizabeth said, you can't grow tomatoes in the same spot every year. All your veggies must rotate except for strawberries and asparagus. Things that need to stay in one spot.

We have two chipmunks which are the bain of my existance and which I'm trying to figure out how to get rid of!