Monday, January 18, 2010

Garden Beginnings

Oh, happy day!


Do you know what is in these boxes? My garden beds! I have been working so hard to get the finances in order and save money to be able to finally have a garden this year. I've been dreaming about it, reading about it, and planning about it for years. I always had a garden when I lived in Arizona and have missed gardening so much. Renting, as we do here, got me to feeling that it wasn't worth the investment of time and energy. But since we've been here for over four years now, and since I have felt on so many levels the importance and need for a family garden, I decided to find a way to have my garden and keep it too. Raised beds! A one-time investment. The day they arrived on the front porch was truly amazing. Finally, we can do this! I cannot wait!

Here is what the yard looked like at first. When I planted the front yard's grass, I also roto-tilled the backyard as a first step in preparation. Since then, the walnut tree has dropped all of its leaves and some random grass has grown.

The boys opened the boxes of cedar wood frames.

I like these because they are so easy to assemble. They are guaranteed for 30-40 years, and if we ever move, we can just take them apart and bring them with us.

I love having strong boys around to do the heavy lifting.


Helpful and cooperative boys are even better than strong ones. I have both!


Lyndsay and I got to work raking and leveling the yard, which proved to be a lot more work than we anticipated. We borrowed our neighbor's level to help us get the ground nice and flat.

Even when it was getting dark I wanted to keep working because I was so excited.


Conor's job was to hammer in the pins that hold the beds together. He did such a good job!


The boys worked to assemble the beds in place as Lyndsay and I worked to level the ground for the next one.
This is the next day, with all four beds built and in place. We have three 4' x 8' beds, with two foot walkways between them, and a 2' x 12' bed in the back, which will be for vining and climbing plants. Everything is carefully measured and squared.

Here is the first of three vertical growing frames that Adam built for me from 1/2" electrical conduit and elbow joints. We used 6' lengths and a 4' crossbar. There will be a strong nylon netting attached for the plants to grow on, but I haven't purchased that yet.


Here are our soil ingredients. We are primarily following methods described in the books Square Foot Gardening and The Sustainable Vegetable Garden. For the soil, we mixed peat moss, steer manure, organic compost, and vermiculite.

Dylan and I did the soil mixing together. We first poured it all in the beds, and then we got on our knees and hand mixed it for over an hour. We talked about the necessary elements for root, green leaves, and fruit growth, and how miraculous soil is. We talked about a lot of other things too. Sometimes we just mixed soil in silence. It was wonderful spending that time together with our cool, soft dirt.


It turns out I didn't quite buy enough compost, as the beds are not quite as full as I'd like them, but we'll get some more soon.


Just look at that beautiful, sacred soil!

We are now having the beginning of the anticipated week of rains. I am glad we got the beds assembled and filled before that began. It took us an evening and a day of work, and it was great fun. Soon I will be starting the seeds and life will begin in the garden. Yay!

14 comments:

Hannah said...

WooHoo!!! I LOVE it!! You guys are gonna have such fun!

Cynthia said...

Woo Hoo! You're going to LOVE having raised beds. I was able to build some here a few years back. Looks like you've done everything just right!

Funny side note- I had the chance to be trained in Square Foot Gardening by Mel himself. Let me tell you, that guy is a character! Did you know he has a foundation and they use the funds to train women in 3rd world countries how to grow food to help feed their families? Totally awesome! They teach the women rather than the men because men think it's too small and simple to matter much but the women GET it.

Enjoy your harvest and be sure to post some pictures. Gardening season is a long way off around here.

Don said...

Those are quite the nice looking raised beds. I can't wait to see pictures of the produce that comes out of them.

It will make me feel guilty for not doing my own garden, but I'd like to see it anyway.

Luisa Perkins said...

SO very exciting! We love our raised beds. Your garden is going to be wonderful!

Andrea said...

We want to do that this year too. Although we have to wait another 5 months to plant! I'm so jealous.
I didn't know you could buy the frames. Nice. Where did you order them from?

Olga Tolbert said...

Thanks for sharing this. I have been wanting to garden as well, but have been feeling overwhelmed. This is a great idea, and I think I can manage it.

Alejandra said...

It looks even better in person! Congratulations on accomplishing this big goal Jenna. You are such a hard worker, I'm so proud of you, you are always an inspiration to me.

Britt said...

working in my brings me tremendous pleasure and a feeling of self-sufficiency in my hectic life..... i hope you enjoy it! Isn't it nice to be able to plant in January and February??

Anonymous said...

Where did you order those from?

RKW said...

I did my square foot gardening last year based on Mel's book, Square Foot Gardening. Built the beds, mixed the soil...no weeds, lots of room to grow great stuff...amazing what can grow in a single square foot. I am a living testament that anyone can garden. Good for you, Jenna.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Raise garden beds are awesome! I have a couple. You're gonna love 'em. Keep us posted about how your garden grows.

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Julie Wright said...

So awesome. It is going to be beautiful! And how cool to involve all the kids like that

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