Fertile Fridays: Preparing Our Raised Garden Beds For Growing

| April 18, 2009 | 8 Comments

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When the warm weather started to roll around last year, gas prices were rising so fast that they kept me up at night. I worried that the high fuel costs would translate to crisis for food costs and other expenses. That got me thinking about growing our own food in our backyard as a way to control costs. So, after learning about gardening in raised beds, I decided to do that — I mean, build some — in my backyard.

Oh, I had some seriously huge plans for the raised garden beds in our backyard. I envisioned tall tomato plants, leaning on posts to support the massive weight of their fruits and lush basil plants to season pretty much everything I cooked. Oh, it was going to be grand.

Unfortunately, after building the four raised beds and burying three of them, time got away from us. The boxes were never lined or filled with soil. The project sat there in the rear of our yard … abandoned.

Yes, it was quite pretty. Really.

But this year, things are different. The kids are older and can play more independently in the yard. We have a swing set and outdoor toys to keep them occupied as well. Plus, they are both interested in what we are doing in these giant boxes (that’s Will up above, trying to weed one of the boxes before we tacked the liner in. He is a huge helper). Also, Shawn and I are more interested in being healthy and all the yard work we do is a workout. It’s a fantastic payoff for making our yard look better.

So, this week we set to work finishing last year’s project. First, we cleared debris from the boxes. Then we lined then and filled them with rich, fertile soil that came from impromptu compost piles. Why impromptu? Because we had no intention (or realization) that we were making compost when we dumped lawn clippings in the treeline. It was a happy surprise to find all that free soil ready for the growing.

Over the coming weeks, we will plant in the boxes – tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and more … and we will see where this takes us. I would love to have a fantastic growing season and put up whatever remains in the fall to carry us through winter. But for now, I am taking it one day at a time. Each day that we work on maintaining those boxes is better than we did last year.

Will we be successful? Only time will tell.

I plan to write about our growing adventures on Fridays from now until … well, until things stop growing, I suppose. Hopefully, sharing it with all of you will keep me honest about growing something great in our backyard.

How to create and prepare raised garden beds for growing

Step one: Build the boxes for the raised beds.

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Step two: Line the boxes for the raised beds with something to keep weeds out and also separate the soil from whatever is below.

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Step three: Fill the boxes with rich, fertile soil.

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Category: garden

About the Author ()

Sarah Walker Caron is a freelance writer, editor and recipe developer. Her work has appeared in countless online and print publications including iVillage, BELLA NYC Magazine, Yum for Kids magazine and more. She lives in Connecticut with her two kids, two beagles and husband.

Comments (8)

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  1. Fantastic start! I’ll definitely tune in to see how your garden is growing for inspiration for our own. So far, we have 5 herbs and vegetables planted in a starter plot so it’s easy to move when we move over the summer. Next up, tomatoes and basil!

  2. Kalyn says:

    Looks good. Having your own garden is so much fun! I’m so far behind on my garden this year. My sprinkling system is dug up from the renovations, so I’m wondering when I will get anything planted.

  3. Virtual Frolic says:

    Alas – these are the times I miss having a backyard. I will live vicariously through you :) You should get a little meyer lemon tree..just sayin

    Until then, I guess I’ll work on my windowsill herb garden…It was doing really well..until I forgot to water it for awhile – it doesn’t help that I have to put it behind my curtain so most of the time I completely forget about it..hahha

  4. Tonia says:

    You’re off to a great start Sarah. We’ve decide to do our garden in the flowerbeds that line one side of our house. We’re still pretty new at this too, so it’s the perfect spot to help us keep it well under control.

  5. Sarah Caron says:

    Cate, that sounds like a good start. I did a lot of transplanting today and it was actually pretty easy. Hopefully everything will take.

    Kalyn, when will the sprinkler system go back in? Oh my! Your growing in past seasons was so amazing — I love seeing the progress. I hope you get planted soon.

    Virtual Frolic, can you grow lemons here? I would LOVE an avocado tree … somehow I don’t think that would fly in CT though. Or grow, for that matter.

    Tonia, my garden has been on every side of my house, but I am hoping these dedicated boxes with fresh soil will do the trick. And for the first time, I have my entire flower bed planted already … mostly with flowers too. So excited to see everything grow.

    I cannot tell you all how tired I am tonight! It was a big day in the garden here.

  6. RecipeGirl says:

    Love this project. We have a sandbox that I cleared of sand last spring & began the same planting venture. Unfortunately, our venture turned out to be disastrous and everything we planted either died or got eaten by mysterious creatures. May your venture be much more successful!!

  7. Freda Gore says:

    I Love vegetable gardening, As a girl growing up on the Caribbean Island of Dominica and later Antigua I always had a small spot on my family farm. This summer I am planning to start one with my daughter and we have started collecting wooden grape boxes from our local supermarket, they are just the right size to move around our yard. We are also using plastic buckets from our local bakery as planters,( they come in bright yellow and white color) recycle and save the earth that’s the lesson I am trying to teach her and learn myself. We will be following your garden this summer so keep the tips andd photos coming, I just wanted to say your kids are beautiful and I love your blog. Thanks Freda

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