How will you grow this year? Here’s how to make anchored raised garden beds, perfect for growing in challenging areas.
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.
Step two: Line the boxes for the raised beds with something to keep weeds out and also separate the soil from whatever is below.
Step three: Fill the boxes with rich, fertile soil.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.