Sunday, September 6, 2009

Garden Makeover - Part 1

raised garden bed

So, finally after much hemming and hawing and investigating and considering, I decided to go ahead and try to make raised garden beds.

That's instead of 1) keeping the unruly garden as is. and 2) purchasing the beds or a kit.

Supposedly cedar will last 5+ years, and it seems it's the most common material besides composite. I couldn't find anything affordable in terms 2-inch width planks, so I went ahead with 1-inch wide.

I got two 12-ft boards and had one cut in half and the other cut in 4ths. (Thanks to my brother for giving me the wood, already cut, for my birthday). So the beds will be 3 ft by 6. I've only made one so far, but now that the garden makeover has started, I really want to go ahead and do more. I'm thinking three would be good.

raised garden bed

I sort of followed some directions I found online, and more or less just built a wooden frame. I used wood screws, some (pine?) wood blocks for reinforcement. Tools included the power drill. Oh yeah, and the level. I'm so prone to do things haphazardly but I figured it's better to start it out level than deal with a slope down the road.

raised garden bed

I bought 2 bags of 3-cu ft of garden soil and 2 bags of 40 lb top soil and a big cube of sphagnum moss (which was not at all the texture I expected). I also lined the bed with newspaper and included some compost and other additives. I have a general idea of the cost of the materials for all this... and it's not cheap... though certainly less expensive than purchasing the beds ready made. I had been putting this off for a while now, so I figured I'd just go with it.

This was all very labor intensive so I'm very achy now, but still want to do more ASAP.

The other thing about the garden makeover is the idea to do twice as well, with half as much. That should be my general life goal... maybe? At any rate, I "disassembled" an entire half of the garden, took away the landscaping timbers, weeded, gathered up what mulch was left. I transplanted a bunch of carrots out of the retired garden area and into the mostly full-of soil-and goodies raised bed. I hope they'll do OK. We shall see.

And then I planted grass seed in that space. For some reason planting grass seems like some overly important deal to me. I'm not sure why. But I'm hoping it grows! I didn't have any hay to put on top... but I followed the directions on the bag, used lawn fertilizer and watered it.

I'm looking forward to the garden being smaller, more manageable, more attractive and hopefully the raised beds will make watering easier and more efficient (that's supposed to be one of their advantages).

Now I'm thinking I should have taken a "before" photo to show off the "after" when this makeover is complete. Let me just say the garden had really gone wrong in so many ways, this has to be a vast improvement.