Its Spring time and we have 4 new small raised bed gardens for vegetables replacing a third of our urban back lawn. Over the past couple of years the shade from very tall 100 year old cedar trees keeps about one quarter of the vegetable garden in full shade and another quarter is partial shade. The sunny section remaining is for strawberries, a few greens and as many tomatoes as possible ... and the 6 x 8 greenhouse.
Building the Raised Bed Frames
We decided to increase the veggie garden by turning half of the only sunny part of the back yard lawn to 4 raised beds. It is flat, versus the current vegetable gardens with four gardening levels due to the Steep Slope.
With the snow still on the ground we measured where the four 4 x 4 foot beds would be best in the sunny side of the yard. The wood was purchased, cut to size and stained in a workshop inside. Special thanks to my handy husband.
Raised Bed Gardens - Preparing the Soil
We had to wait for the frozen ground to thaw before we could move the frames outside for placement and with a few record breaking sunny days in early March the beds were in place. The longest part of the procedure was :
- Removing the sod (in 8 to 12" squares) into a wheelbarrow
- Loosening the soil underneath with a fork
- Replacing the sod (upside down) with about 6 inches of soil attached plus a couple of worms
- A layer of home grown organic compost about 2 inches thick was next
- We purchased 2 yards of organic compost of which about half was used in the beds
- A light mulch was added on the top - total growing depth is about 12 "
- The beds were left to settle for a few days before transplanting and seeding
- All in all this was over a period of 4 days and totalled about 16 hours labour for two adults. Some of the labour was quite heavy at times.
What to Plant - the fun begins ...
- I have always wanted a perennial herb garden near the house so that was the first choice. Planted rosemary, thymes, sage, chives, lots of parsley (seeded) and more garlic cloves
- Another bed has been assigned for six tomato plants and some chives and perhaps more parsley
- Kale, which overwintered in the greenhouse, are transplanted in another bed
- Two of the beds will have my own Scarlet Runner beans I have been growing every year since the 1980s and also Sugar Snap peas. There is room to plant 32 of each on a trellis
- At the time of writing there is "extra" garden space which I am going to enjoy planting with greens and perhaps one zucchini!
- I did not have time to plant the Fall garlic but have planted about 60 bulbs for garlic greens. The leaves are a wonderful addition to stirfrys, etc this time of year
This & That :
- Having the additional space to garden once again on a flat area has given me a new joy in gardening this year
- Why not turn some of your own lawn into an edible organic garden
- Both bush and pole peas were seeded direct, early in our cloudy, wet April and shoots started peaking through the soil the end of the 2nd week of April.
- 3 Winter greenhouse kale were planted out and we have had a fresh garden salad with garlic greens, chives and kale from our garden
- Garlic cloves planted direct in March are 4 to 6" tall
- 4 Rhubarb plants survived the winter as did 5 small kale (outside)
- Parsley, mesclun, bok choy and chard seeds all sprouted in the cold frame
In closing, I know I will run out of garden space before I run out of veggies to plant! But I know the garden is off to a good start. The soil is organic and all the beds received a good layer of organic compost so I am hoping for a fruitful year. All the best with your dreams and schemes ...
Links & References:
- Ideas to start a New Veggie Garden (2017)
- What Vegetables to Eat on a Low Carbohydrate Diet - Dr. David Unwin
- Pesticide Residual in Non-Organic Produce - EWG Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen
- Growing Veggies in the Shade can be a Challenge (2014)
- Raised Bed Gardens the only way to grow veggies - Caramel & Parsley (2013)
- Springtime in the Garden - Caramel & Parsley (2013)
- "Square Foot Gardening" by Mel Bartholomew, Rodale Press, 2005
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