Raised Garden Beds DIY
I love gardening. Period. I love doing pretty much anything that involves being outside. My husband and I spend every moment of free time (when the weather is nice) outdoors. We have had a garden now for several years. Last year was the first summer that we were in our new home so our garden somewhat fell through the cracks because we were so crazy busy getting our yard together. However, the years before that and at our new house, we always had an amazing garden.
Last year, our garden was not terrible, it was just not as neat and clean as we like for it to be. Also, we found that living in the country comes with issues. By issues I mean…deer, squirrels…lots of squirrels, and many others. All of these critters apparently love a good garden with fresh veggies. It was a nightmare trying to keep them out of our garden space. We have deer everywhere around our house. My husband and I love to watch them, however, when they eat your produce they are not so cute anymore. Anyway, last year, we decided early on that we would need to have a fenced in garden area in order to keep the animals out.
In additional to keeping the animals out, I have always wanted a smaller garden with raised garden beds that I could easily control and take care of myself. So, for the past year we knew we would be building raised garden beds with fencing around it. I drew my plans out months ago. We agreed that we wanted a chicken coop. However, a couple of weeks ago, Joanna did her very own garden on Fixer Upper. Needless to say…because of that episode…I added a few things to my plans.
Raised Garden Beds DIY – Step 1
Before adding any type of fence, my husband used his tractor blade to scrape and level the area where the raised garden beds would go. After that, we went to our local building supply and bought all of our fencing materials. We just did a simple wood fence. We set the posts 92″ apart down each side. Then, we just added three rows of wood along the side.
Each post is set in quickcrete. Of course we measured along the way to make sure everything lined up. In the end, we will go back and cut the tops off of the posts so that they are all the same height.
During this particular part of the process I did lots of holding and measuring and Christopher did all the digging. He used post hole diggers to dig each and every hole.
Raised Garden Beds DIY – Step 2
Once the posts were up, we had to make the entrance to the garden. I wanted something grand on the front and so we decided that a small pergola would look nice. After all, I wanted something that I could add climbing flowers to. So, a couple of years ago someone gave Christopher these huge posts. Therefore, we used those and they turned out perfectly. The first time he dug the holes, the entrance was like 12 ft. I wanted dramatic but not quite that dramatic. So…he dug a little deeper so that the entrance was 10 ft.
Again, he set this in quickcrete. He obviously got a few friends to help him stand this pergola up because it is HEAVY.
Before standing it up, he did brace it. Once the quickcrete dried, he removed all of the braces.
Raised Garden Beds DIY – Part 3
Once the sides were up and the front entrance was up, we added the black ground cover in order to control weeds. It took three rolls to fill up our 20 x 40 area. We secured all of this down with metal fence stakes. The stakes work like a charm. At this point, the front nor the back is finished. We did this intentionally so that we could use the tractor to help fill in our raised garden beds.
As you can see, we have a metal type fence lying on the ground in the front. This is not necessarily what we intended to use, but when we found them we knew they were meant to be. So, when starting this project…I knew I wanted a mix of new and old. While riding on my in-laws land, my husband spotted these fence pieces behind some junk. He dug them out of the mud/leaves/limbs and out from underneath several other things. We loaded them in the farm truck and took them back to our garden spot. We got them out of the truck and propped them up on the front and GUESS what…that could not have fit more perfectly. Like I said…they were meant to be!! They really set the garden OFF and gave it just the look I was going for.
As for the back of the garden, we plan to do a garden shed (Thanks Joanna and Fixer Upper). However, that is going to be an even bigger project. So, for now, we are going to just close in the fence with wood and add the garden shed either this fall or next spring. We thought about adding it up front, but considering the amount of work we have to do at our house (yard)…we figured we needed to let this part be for now and come back to it.
Raised Garden Beds DIY – Part 4
After getting the fencing up and all that good stuff…we had to decide on how many garden boxes and how big. We got our cypress wood for our wood boxes from the local Amish. We started off with one 4×8 garden box. Once the fencing was up, we added two more 4×8 boxes and four 4×4 boxes. I am not finished adding boxes just yet, but I am going to get a few more things complete before adding more. I know that we are going to add a couple of 1×4 boxes as well as other pots and containers around the garden area.
Making the boxes was easy, again, I did lots of holding and “go getting” during this process. My husband tells me that I am “teachable” and “coachable” when it comes to these things – ha.
The hardest part of the process…let me repeat the HARDEST PART of this process was getting the soil into the boxes. The part of the process is why I had to medicate with Advil and go to bed early. This process is the reason why I have been sore and my joints have been hurting for the past 2 days.
Because we knew we were doing these raised beds, Christopher has been working on the soil and some compost. So, he used the bucket on the tractor to pick up the piles he has been saving for this…but…we had to scoop every bit of this out of the bucket with a shovel. I mean…a few of the areas we were somewhat able to dump into from the tractor…but for the most part we did it manually. Let me tell you….I thought I was in good shape until I did some good ole manual labor.
Raised Garden Beds DIY – Part 5
Even though we still lack several things including rock, wildlife netting, along with a few other things…we decided to go ahead and get our seeds and plants in the ground before it is too late. So, this weekend we planted 40, 60, 80, and 120 day cabbage, deer tongue letter, bib letter, purple leafy lettuce, spinach, broccoli, green onions, carrots, and radishes.
We are probably going to have more lettuce and cabbage than we know what to do with but that is usually how we do it. We did all of this in one 4×8 box and three 4×4 boxes. When it is time to plan our additional veggies, we will use the remaining boxes. Then, as more space opens up, we will plan in the boxes that we are currently using.
We do plan to add a couple of tee pees for beans and pots for a blackberry bush and blueberry bush…oh and cherry tomatoes. Currently, we have several blueberry and blackberry bushes planted, but want to add more inside the fence.
Around the Garden…and House
We hope to finish everything up over the next couple of weeks. I will keep you updated on our progress.
In addition to working on our raised garden beds, we have added two additional peach trees. We now have a total of five peach trees. We have also added plum and apple trees and plan to add more of each.
I will do another post on our raised garden beds once everything is finished. Oh, and maybe a vacation to Turks and Caicos after all this manual labor – ha. It is hard work but I love every minute of it!!!