Raised Garden Boxes
Are you tired of the back aches, sore knees, or have physical limitations, But love to garden and grow your own produce; I know I’m ! Well here’s a suggestion for you and a few tips to help you out and give you something to think about this coming gardening season!
I approached this topic as the plan for my own garden this year due to poor quality of and lack of soil here on the river. Our soil is mostly sand and very dry and hot no matter how much watering it seems was never enough and a lot of our plants either would not produce in quality or quantity ! So the plans soon is to make our own garden boxes and bring in new soil along with the added compost and such.
So the fastest way to get good deep fertile soil is to make the Raised Beds! They can yield up to four times more than the same amount of space as in planted rows and save you money and time! I’m all for that! Not to mention less back, knee and stress on the body!
The plants also grow closer together and crowd out the weeds therefore you spend less time and effort weeding plus it makes watering and harvesting efficient and easier.
Did you know that planting in a triangle will yield more? I didn’t, So we need to pay attention how we arrange the plants AND by doing this you can fit 10-14% more plants in each bed!! I’m for that! Just don’t plant them too close to each other.
Weight yield is more important than the number of plants per square foot. Sometimes it’s hard to remember or think ahead what it will grow into!
Small garden? No problem, Grow up! go vertical hence Tomatoes, Pole Beans, Melons, can all be supported by fences, cages, or stakes, plus it saves time by going up it provides more air to circulate which means less Fungal Diseases!
Some great ideas for growing vertical are becoming more popular especially small yards, apartments and also for just the great looks! You can hang a shoe organizer up from a rod and attach heavy hooks through top holes of shoe garment to hang on the rod and fill each pocket up to an inch with compost and plant herbs, lettuce, flowers and such, the water will seep through the canvas material. Also you can use pallet boards leaning up against the house or garage and pack with dirt to plant herbs . I have see large plumbing tubes with drilled holes in them and attached together in shapes where plants are grown in the large holes drilled into them. Check out Pinterest.com for some great resources and DIY ideas on vertical gardening.
Grow Vining crops along the sides of your beds, You could even place buckets or cement blocks along the sides of your boxes AND have extra plants! I think I’m going with the cement blocks, and add some marigolds in a few boxes also! Just use what you have or can find.
Another thing to think about before you plant in your cute boxes is to make sure you have compatible plants such as the “Three Sisters” Corn, beans, and squash. The corn stocks support the beans and the squash grows on the ground shading out the weeds! More compatibles include Tomatoes, basil and onions.
Use your transplants that already are a month or so old when you plant them and they will mature faster, plus the pride you have from seeding them yourself!
Remember no pressure treated wood is allowed to grow “Organic Food” If you want to meet these high standards choose a different wood material. The EPA recommends use naturally Rot-Resistant woods like Red Cedar, Black Locust or Red Wood. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know this or thought about it!
Check out some local lumber yards for Raised Garden Kits also if your not into building.
Raised Beds can also be used on a cement patio if you don’t have the yard space or want it closer to your house; keep in mind your plants need sun at least 6 hours of sunlight a day to thrive, Also Remember to block up one end of your box a little to allow for drainage if you chose this option.
farmers almanac Another great source for planting, and when to plant by the moon forecast and more.
You may ask ok what kind of soil do I use? The best is Homemade soil blend of 50% Topsoil made of healthy loom, 50% compost which can be manure, animal manure or fish compost.
The best Premium soil is :
1/3. Peat Moss
1/3. compost blend
I really like the idea of mulching the paths between the boxes it gives it a finished look and will keep the soil cooler, plus keep the weeds down! As you can see my Old Garden lacks any structure! Lay a landscape cloth on your path and cover with 2-3 inches of mulch or sawdust, Also when laying the fabric down allow it come up 1′ against the bottom board of box and staple it in place. The much will cover it.
One of the most important things to know is your plant zone which will tell you when you can plant according to each state. Here is a USA Zone Map to help you decide.
.USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, 2012. Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Accessed from https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov.
Now that you know when to start planting, Think ahead and start your own seedlings!
If you really want to start your own plants from seeds I think thats great! And what better satisfaction than doing it all your self . Here are some Tid-Bits from the ( Good Ol Farmers Almanac ) I read and you might enjoy!
Try using some things you may have around the house instead of purchasing seedling trays such as, Toilet Paper roll, Cut four slits in one end and fold in edge and fill with compost and your seeds plus you can plant the container and all! It’s Biodegradable.
Ice Cream cones are also great to start seeds in as well as 1/2 of an egg shell and what about empty egg cartons the paper ones.
Do you live in the country or farm and bothered by deer eating in your garden? You should try this DIY Deer Repellent. Mix 3 Tab hot sauce, 3 Tab minced garlic and 3 raw eggs, blend all together in blender and add to 1 gal of water and pour into spray bottle to spray your plants with and respray after a rain. Insects are always a pest for gardeners and here is a few natural ideas without the chemicals! Try planting Basil near your windows or doorways to repel flies and mosquitos, Plant some Dill near your tomatoes to prevent tomato hook worms .( Oh speaking of that , Did you know a tomato hornworm (also known as a tobacco hornworm) is like a humming bird ! it grows into a type of humming bird moth!! yup you heard me they are brownish 2-2.5 inches with no beak just a long roll out tongue and sucks nectar from flowers just like a real hummingbird!! ) Go figure. That’s Sci-Fi for ya! THAT I read in the Farmers Almanac!!
And what about those pesky weeds! Try your own homemade weed killer, Mix 5 Tab of dish washing soap per 1 quart of water and add to a spray bottle to spray the plants with, Oh an it works great on Aphids too! I use it every year!
Hopefully your plants are in the garden now or soon to be and you have all your garden tools, aprons, buckets or baskets to make things go smoothly and water nearby for your growing season! Stay tuned and in a few months it will be time to talk about how we preserve all your garden harvest.
Well this is just a little information I gained while researching the Raised Garden Beds of how and why I chose to go this route and sharing a little information on how to get started with your own seeds or seedlings with you.
Happy Gardening and stay green and dirty Gardners!
Soon to have my New Garden Boxes
Happy Gardening All !