I built a raised-bed garden 2 months ago. I am excited about growing my own food. I buy an awful lot of fruits and veggies from the grocery store, and I want to experiment with having my own source. Plus, I like watching the miracle of plants growing. And, I like eating different varieties and studying them – all very interesting to me.
So, I grow. These are my “test beds”, quite literally. I made 3 beds to study how things will grow (even in this late part of the season – I just moved here). Later, I will expand it 10-fold when I acquire some larger acreage. This is a great pre-cursor experiment to see what mistakes I make or what problems I encounter here so that I can learn from them when I scale up – or if it just does really well, I’ll replicate. I also want to see what dies in the frost and what survives and why. Come Springtime, I’ll have a better understanding of what needs to be done for each plant I’m interested in when I plan the next layout.
So, here’s what I’ve got growing: Corn, wheat, cucumbers, garlic, strawberries, tomatoes, Anaheim peppers, jalapenos, habaneros, bell peppers, cayenne peppers, Chinese peppers, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, squash, onions, kale, radish, swiss chard, basil, parsley, cilantro, aloe vera, cacti, and probably a few more that I’m not remembering. And, I have several varieties of some of them. Let’s see what happens!
I planned the whole thing out before I started growing. Here’s the chart:
So, I started the build in the late summer. I used as much reclaimed wood (untreated) as I could find. For instance I found some great 20′ 2×8’s used previously as roof rafters to use and had plenty of standard 2×4’s. I bought the rest and went to work.
To make a long story short, I initially intended to drop them into the existing soil, but I decided to change halfway through to do raised beds as a more controlled experiment – like growing in huge containers with known, looser soil. And, I ended up matching the building width of 7′ for alignment, so these are 4′ by 7′, and there are 3 of them.
That’s the old deconstructed, broken-down pyramid vocal booth that I built for my old home, in the background. I broke it down to use the wood. I found another sound booth solution for this place. As you can see, the frames came up nicely – it was much easier after it stopped raining so much! It was a pleasure to design and build these things – there’s great fulfillment that comes from it. And, the garden area has remnant parts of that vocal booth and another climbing wall that I harvested wood from. So, there’s some memories in there, as well. 🙂
And, finally, the finished product (below) with a few plants growing. 🙂 It took me about a month of evenings and weekends, after trial and error and design changes to finish it. I used all untreated lumber for contact with the soil and plants. For the treated 4×4’s, they are lined with plastic all the way up on the inside. There are cons to using untreated lumber, too – they rot with extended water contact. But with the chemically treated wood, I fear that they’d leech into the soil. Cedar was overly expensive for my budget, so I went with what I had. It’ll be fine for a few years. It’s looking good!
I am really enjoying my new location and being able to build stuff – having a great place to work out of. I’ll be here for about a year while I save up and scout for a more permanent, larger acreage that I can live at for 10+ years. The structures are transportable, so I can re-use them if need be. My workshop is just adjacent to the garden, so I work wood and paint and carve stuff just right there nearby with the scenery – very inspiring to me! I have a saw station, an “assembly” station, and a covered tool rack and deck that I’ll show more of with the 2nd garden update. A fun, relaxing place for me to be.
In the evenings, like in this pic, the plants do go out of sunlight, but they get full sun from the time it comes up until about 6 or 7pm, in the Summer and Fall. I specially prepared the soil with carefully-measured, all organic compost, vermiculite, peat moss, and other “dirt” to serve as an experiment to see what happens, built also of course, I made the soil rich and organic to grow good plants to eat, too.