Sunday, March 18, 2012

Raised Bed Gardening

 My plan for today was to get the raised beds out back prepped and to put out some flowers in containers.  Having a few warm, sunny days means I get anxious to start prettying up our yard.  I know, it's not spring yet, but I just had to get my hands dirty!  I broke up the soil and cleaned out some debris from our last garden, then added some composted manure to augment the soil.  Then I planted three varieties of tomatoes, two types of lettuce and some marigolds in the larger beds.

Yesterday, I went to a nearby garage sale and found these empty grape boxes.  Today I over-planted them with bedding plants to add some color to one corner of our patio.

It's sort of overcast today, so of course, as soon as I snapped another photo, the clouds covered the sun!

Our land has a very shallow layer of topsoil covering a vast shelf of sandstone.  In order to have a garden of any type, we have to build raised beds.  Our lawn is primarily bermuda grass, which is as invasive as kudzu, so having the barrier between the lawn and the plants helps out too.

Two years ago Fred built the long narrow bed that sits parallel to the fence.  It will be planted with moonflowers to grow up onto strings.  I have ordered some wave petunia plants to put along the front edge of the bed.  The moonflowers have pretty foilage and blooms up to 8" in diameter.  They're a member of the morning glory family.  The blooms open at night and have a wonderful fragrance.  I'll be planting them in another raised bed on the west side of our patio to provide shade there.  We enjoy sitting out there in the evening enjoying the smell of the blooms and watching luna moths as they get nectar.

The smaller raised bed had strawberries in it for the past two years.  Our awful drought and heat last summer killed all the plants.  This year, I'm putting cucumbers in it.  I'll leave the frame over the top and train the vines to grow across it.  That will make it easier to harvest the cucumbers.

The two 4' x 8' beds are for tomatoes, squash and lettuce.  Since I started so many squash plants from seeds in empty K-cups, I'll have to plant some in containers too.   We should have enough squash to feed the entire neighborhood!

The yard doesn't look like much right now but I'm expecting an early spring this year.  It will be greened up and needing to be mowed before we know it.

Now that I've finished this job, it's time to get serious about building my dragonflies and get them up on the fence.  They'll be placed between the long narrow bed and two smaller planters that sit near it to add some much needed decoration on the wood fence. 


char52 said...

Can't wait to see what you grow... feels like we should be plantin here in south jersey with the extreme unseasonably warm temps but we all know it is a tease and not to get used to it.

Ann said...

Ambitious and ingenious planting! If you get too many squash maybe you can pickle them . . . or send them my way (LOL)! Happy planting!

okieladybug or okie_ladybug said...

Hope you and Fred are growing enough to share with me too!! I did think about putting out a little something but was afraid to leave it for a week while I am gone so just scratched the idea.

Brenda said...

Love your containers on your patio Linda, what a great find!! I also love your raised beds. Did you use pretreated lumber? I wanted to raise our bed of strawberry plants and last fall we got the stuff to do it, but then DH changed his mind and told me I couldn't have it because the pretreated wood have arsenic in them. Pooh, I was so looking forward to a raised bed!!! We have mowed three times now and the grass is still growing like crazy. Spring came about a month and a half early here!!!

Linda said...

DH says that the government made them stop using arsenic in the pretreated lumber. We've had those beds out there for about 15 years so if there's arsenic in it, we've probably eaten a ton of it! lol!

Our spring is early too. Got brave and set out all my plants and seedlings today and usually we have to wait until after Easter to avoid a late frost. It was 85 here today---don't think it will be having a frost!