What do I need to create a Raised Vegetable Garden?
- Site – A level spot that receives 6-8 hours of sunlight, preferably near a water source for easy watering. Choose a site that is either inside a fenced yard or where you can add fencing easily to deter hungry mammals. Carefully choose a space that you can maintain in your busy schedule and ask your family members to help. They will enjoy eating the fruits of their labor.
- Soil – Use good friable (dark, crumbly, free of rocks, holds moisture but also drains well) soil and add organic matter such as fully-composted manure, shredded leaves, organic compost, grass clippings (free of any chemicals).
- Seeds/Seedlings – Choose crops that you and your family will enjoy growing and eating. Consider herbs that you enjoy cooking with and will save you money when home grown.
- Sustain – Any garden needs TLC (Tender Loving Care). Remember, it needs you to be sure it is watered, weeded and supported. It is so rewarding to spend time with your edibles. You will be rewarded for all of your hard work at the end of the growing season.
Project Part 1
I have been inspired to grow and eat our own food from our own land like I did as a child. This is a two-part project where I plan to create a new backyard pond and use some of the soil from that project to make a new raised vegetable garden. Since both projects need full sun, they will be designed side by side. I plan to use rocks to edge the raised bed in order to have continuity between the two features. I will need to price the materials to see if that is an affordable option.
I will also be dealing with a small downward slope on this site, so I will need to investigate ways to work with that physical challenge.
Project Part 2
I was able to reuse the dirt from the pond, as I had planned. I also added about 1/3 as much fully composted horse manure to add organic matter and nutrients to the soil. I then added some flowering perennials and shrubs that I had been given at the stop of the hill. Their flowers will be reflected in the pond, making them twice as beautiful. Plus, they will attract pollinators to the garden.
I also added strawberries, tomatoes, basil and pepper plants. Anytime I get a nice sized rock, I add it to the edging. I used straw as mulch under the vegetable and herb plants. This raised bed did great last summer. It got plenty of light, it had sufficient nutrients and the straw worked perfectly to keep the weeds out. And, it was cheap!
This year, the dirt will still have plenty of nutrients for another planting. I will use the straw mulch again this year since it was so easy and effective.
My hope is to enlarge this bed to about twice it’s size.
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