Raised Bed Gardening

cordoning off square feet of our raised bed ga...

Image by the.sprouts via Flickr

This will be my second year at a new house with a new garden. Last year I didn’t have time to spend in the back yard for growing food crops. I hope this will change this year.

What I learning back at my old place is that no matter how bad your soil is, if you work with raised beds you can grow almost anything. In my case, I only moved  about 12 miles north, and the soil conditions are similar.

At the last place, I had heavy soil that had been good farm land and the clay was brown to black about 16 inches / 40 centimeters deep before I got into the really dense orange clay of our state.  At the new place, the orange stuff is only 3-4 inches deep except in a part of the back yard that used to be a vegetable garden, but that area had been rototilled and it’s not much better than the rest of the yard.

So, last year I put up three raised beds and I was able to rescue that much soil from the last place. I tried to grow some garlic, onions, tomatoes, peppers, dill and parsley, but almost all of it croaked from too much water, then too much heat. I did get some garlic and a few of the Stuttgarter Onion sets survived. I transplanted some of the garlic and the few survivor onions are still in the ground.

I put up another bed late in the fall, and ordered three garlic varieties but didn’t get them in the ground soon enough for it to take off, but these last few days, despite the really cold night time temps, the garlic is sprouting greens through the top of the mulch.

For the raised beds, I built them the way I had back at the old place, but I have been seeing some neat designs for cedar raised beds in some of the gardening magazines, and I think I will adopt their design idea of pegged corners, they require no screws for assembly, only a galvanized peg at each of the 4 corners and the ends of the board notched a certain way so they stack properly for pegging.

Anyway, tese were just some thoughts about my new gardening endeavors.

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