Last week, I mentioned that I was expanding my garden to add five more raised beds. This is so I can have more space to rotate my crops, be able to plant crops that cross planting seasons (without affecting the planting of other crops), and utilize all the space on the side of my house so there’ll be no more lawn there. (See yesterday’s post on Edible Landscaping.) Well, the raised beds are now made, painted, and installed – just waiting to be filled with soil and compost this weekend. I’m so excited about the expansion of my garden, I wanted to share it with you all.
It was always my intention to put in additional raised beds, but the cost of the wood was not in my budget when I started my garden. My initial 15 beds were mostly made with old decking I pulled up when I bought the house. I paid for wood for only two of those fifteen beds. Adding five more beds would’ve cost me quite a bit of money, so I decided to put it off until next year.
Then Craigslist came to the rescue. My beau found a listing for free wood that was perfect for raised beds. It wasn’t treated decking (like the rest of my beds are made from), but it was 1 x 6 planks in just the right size. And we think they’re cedar! I had 4 x4’s left for the corners, so all I needed to purchase were decking nails and paint. (Because we weren’t SURE about the wood being cedar and I wanted all my raised beds to match, we decided to paint the beds.) Five new raised beds for a few bucks! What a deal!
On day 1, my beau pulled out the wood, the saw horses, and his tools. I could hear the Tim-Taylor-like grunting from inside the house!
He had to cut only a few of the planks as most of them were the perfect size. How cool is that? So, most of his cutting was for the corner pegs made from 4 x 4s.
The next day, he laid out the pieces where they were going to go.
Then, he assembled the raised beds in place. (For instructions on how to do this, see my article How to Build a Raised Bed.)
The next step was painting. I bought Barn & Fence paint in white (from Lowes), and it worked very well with only one coat! (I wish I had used that for the other beds.)
Once the raised beds were dry, the hard part began. He had to pull up all the grass, loosen up the soil, then install the raised beds. Not an easy task in 90-degree heat! He worked early in the morning when it wasn’t so bad. Then, the other day, he just pushed himself to finish the task regardless of the heat. He must’ve lost ten pounds in sweat, poor guy!
All my raised beds have a walk space of 18 inches around the perimeter. This 18-inch spacing is being kept for the new beds, too. Not only will this promote the aesthetics of symmetry in my garden, but it will also allow me to continue using my custom garden seat with the new beds.
He installed the longest raised bed first, so the others could easily be lined up properly.
Then, he installed the other four beds. I now have a total of twenty raised beds in my backyard! (See top picture showing 17 of the beds together; the other three are along the back fence.)
This weekend, we’ll be filling the raised beds with a combination of the dirt removed from other parts of the yard (during other projects), my own compost (ready to go in all this heat with all the rain we’ve had), and some mushroom compost purchased at Lowes. We’ll also lay landscape fabric around the new raised beds and add cypress mulch, top-dressing the mulch around the initial beds, as well. Once it’s complete, I’ll take another picture and add it to my Sanctuary Gardener update next Monday.
The next project will be to rip out the rest of the lawn on the side of the house (between the house and the beds, toward the front fence), add a triangle-shaped raised bed in the corner (bed #21 for medicinal herbs), then install a walkway of pavers that will lead to the patio in the back of the house. That will be a winter project, though. I have planting to do soon!
Are you expanding or changing your garden?