Raise Bed Gardens

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Using a raised bed garden has many advantages such as drainage, easy tracking for rotating crops and weeding...just to name a few.   Using 8 beds I'm going to grow vegetables organically.
 

 

 
Raised Bed Gardens
Spring/Summer/Fall 2010
(VIDEO AT BOTTOM OF PAGE)

  I can't express how easy and satisfying it is to garden in raised beds. Yes it did cost more then just digging up the earth. It did take time & money to seal it with linseed oil for protections for years to come. But the ease of watery, weeding and the overall organization of the gardens is wonderful! The good news is...you only have to do the hard work once.
 
 
     Although I do enjoy gardening, it's nice to have a youngster around to help out with the back-breaking work.

     The furthest beds from the back door I planted my perennial vegetable & soft fruits.  I planted a bed of Strawberries & Blueberries.  In another bed I planted Asparagus & more Strawberries!
    
Since these beds need little maintenance and I only have to harvest them a few times a year they're the perfect pick to be furthest from the house.  Notice the chicken wire covering the beds.  Apparently squirrels & rabbits love strawberries too!
 
   I planted 2 year asparagus crowns this year so I couldn't harvest anything this year but I should have a small taste of what's to come in the spring of 2011.  And full harvest for the next 5-8 years thereafter!
 PS...I wanted as little daily maintenance as possible so I laid down some soaker hoses.
 
  I started my seedling inside this year but the sun REALLY harms the tender plants if you don't gradually take them out for just an hour or so daily for about 2 weeks before planting them in their permanent places.   This year I'll be starting my seeds outdoors in a cold frame as much as possible.  That way I wont have a problem with frost and get an early planting from seed (less expensive).
 
Next to the fruit beds I decided to grow potato's.  I really felt I was wasting my time & valuable space since potato's are about $5-$8 for a 10 lb bag.  I WAS WRONG!    These Potato's were the BEST I've ever eaten in my life!  Not only did they taste great but my daughter and I had a great time harvesting them together.  I'll be planting more of them in 2011for sure.
 
I really didn't get the potato yield I was hoping for because I made some serious rooky mistakes. I relied on the soil I purchased to have adequate manure & compost...it didn't. The ground got hard so the potatoes grew small.  About 60% were tiny but...still very edible.
This coming year will be different.  I have Rabbits!  Rabbits =
Ready to use fertilizer! 
     
Ready for this?
So I planted what I thought was sweet corn.  NOPE!  It was feed-corn.  Kind you feed to livestock.  DAMN!

This year I'm going to read the freaking package and plant the 3-Sisters together...Corn, Beans & Squash.
 
DO NOT GET OVER ZEALOUS!
 
I didn't realize how many tomato‚Äôs each plant would yield. I tried to make sauce for canning but after about 3 buckets of cleaning tomato's I was tired of it. I got about 8 buckets and allowed about 3-4 more buckets to spoil on the plant. AN ABSOLUTE TRAVISTY! That should never happen! I now know that 2 cherry & 4 beef tomato plants are plenty for a family of 4. Granted it isn't enough for winter storage but...I have a better understanding of yield and spacing for next year.  If I can get my greenhouse up in the spring I should be able to extend a few plants through most of the winter for fresh produce.
 
Listen and listen closely...
PLANT ONLY WHAT YOUR FAMILY WILL EAT!

Look at these beautiful beets.  Every single one of them spoiled in my refrigerator! Geeessss. 
   
Here's a real bitch!  I tried growing broccoli and cauliflower...tried.  Well...not a single cauliflower flowered and my broccoli was very dismal.  The plants took up SO MUCH SPACE and didn't yield.  Never again!  I'll use this space for other plants that will yield and the family will eat.
   
Sorry for the blurry picture but these are Brussel sprouts.  I planted them a little to close so I didn't get the size I hoped for but I do have 4 plants that did well.  I just had some for dinner and they were delicious!   I'm not planting them in the garden next year, instead I'll be planting them as an annual in the 'Food Forest'.
   
Seed Bed
  I realized, a little late in the season, that if you want continues produce you MUST have a seed bed.  No one told me that lettuce turned bitter and spinach stops producing after a few week. 
LIVE AND LEARN! 
   
     Last, but not least, was a huge surprise to me as far as productivity and the amount of use our family got from it.  Cyndi's HERB GARDEN!
   Spices from Cyndi Herb Garden This is the first garden outside our backdoor (kitchen door).  Every backdoor should have one of these.  I'm going to divide the roots in the spring and plant them out in the Food Forest as the 'Herb Layer' this coming spring 2011.  We cut the plants down to dry but have since realized these plants can take 0c (32f), and colder, and still grow!

I learned so much this year that I can't wait until next growing season!
 
Don't over plant.
Plant only what you'll eat.
Food is ALWAYS better regarding taste, nutritional (no pesticides used), when grown yourself.  YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR FOOD IS COMING FROM!
Don't plant to early!  I lost a few good plants to frost.  Check your local weather for last frost in your area.
This year I'll try Companion Planting!