Monday, April 5, 2010

DIY- Raised Garden Bed

While at Sam's Club recently, I saw a kit for making a raised bed garden. It was pretty sophisticated. It had built in trellis pieces that you could raise into place and a pump and sprayer for automatic watering. Even with all those extras, I would not be willing to pay the $150+ that it was priced at. The one without all the accessories was still close to $70. We built our own raised bed this week, and I took pictures just for the purpose of sharing with you! Our cost? A mere $25 for the wood and fill dirt. And a little bit of work for my husband. :)

Raised beds are great for small yards (like ours). Having an area contained for the garden also helps teach the younger children where they're not allowed to walk. The garden is clearly defined and it's not a nebulous line between yard and garden. First, pick a spot to put the garden. We already have one raised bed, and thought we would put the second near it. In fact, there's enough space to do three beds across the back of our lot by the alley, so we'll probably be adding another one next year. Our first bed is 4 ft by 4ft. We've utilized the square foot gardening method for this bed and have managed to have quite a nice salad and salsa garden. The second bed will be home to some transplanted strawberries. Make sure to call your local digging hotline before beginning any work. Expect them to take a week or so to come out and mark things.It's hard to see the flags in the pictures, but where we wanted to dig our garden is about a foot away from the lines.

Building your box is relatively easy. Go to the local lumber store and purchase some 8 foot boards of treated lumber. Saw in half and screw together. Now you've got a square!

Digging up the sod is probably the toughest part of the job. It takes some elbow grease for this part! Put your frame where you want your garden to be and mark out where you need to dig. We reused the orange flags to mark our corners! If it's good weed-free sod, it can be reused in your yard if you have any areas full of weeds to dig up. We have lots of "helpers" for this part of the job. They were mostly on worm rescue!

Once you have your sod out, it's time to put the box in place. Our spot was on a slight incline, so Greg pulled out his level and dug a little more. If the box is nice and level that means you'll have a good level planting area. Water won't pool in one corner or wash away your seedlings.

Next it's time to fill your garden with dirt. We filled ours with a top soil and compost mixture. The top soil was purchased at the store and the compost was free from the dump. Now is a good time to treat your soil if it has any special needs. You can see the stakes put at the corners of the first garden. During the growing season, we wrap chicken wire around the garden to keep the bunnies from eating my lettuce!

Now, you're ready to plant your garden! This box is home to about 20 transplanted strawberries. They've been living in a plastic sack all week. I hope they perk up soon. And I'm really looking forward to fresh strawberries this summer!

The finished product! Just a pile of compost we'll use to fertilize the yard and some sod scraps that we'll use to patch some weedy areas. Now it's time to dig through my seeds to determine what we'll be planting next month. Should I focus on salad or salsa this year?

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