I finished a major backyard garden project within the past hour. I have put in a raised row bed garden. Inspired by a great website on how to do it (http://oldworldgardenfarms.com/2012/11/20/growing-simple-the-raised-row-garden-way/), I adapted their plan to the resources available to me and the conditions of my garden. That site provides an excellent, detailed description of how to do this.
First, I had made the commitment/decision last month to devote most of my back yard to being a food garden. My desire for fresh food over the years and my motivation towards sustained good health also pushed me in this direction. Second, I had to take into account the realities of my back yard (gophers). Third, I really did not want to till my soil. This meant, of course, that I had to make several trips to the home improvement store to get supplies.
How To: After taking some measurements, it looked like the best thing for me was to create three separate spaces: two 10 feet by 10 feet squares and one 8 feet by 4 feet rectangle. In all, I needed: (a) wood bark mulch (120 cubic feet), (b) organic gardening soil (30 cubic feet), (c) chicken wire – 2 rolls measuring 36 inches by 50 inches, (d) two boxes of garden staples or landscaping fabric pins, and (e) various vegetable and fruit seeds.
I put down the chicken wire first, cutting them at 10-foot lengths (and 8-foot length for the rectangular space) and keeping them in place with garden staples. I did this for each of my three raised-row spaces. You may skip this step if you don’t have a problem with burrowing animals. A nice benefit of this step is that it provides a good outline for pouring your mulch.
Each of the 10 feet by 10 feet squares required 55 cubic feet of wood bark mulch. This will not only ensure a comfortable step but will, importantly, reduce the chance for weeds. I just poured bags of mulch (each bag contains 2 cubic feet of hardwood mulch) over the chicken wire and used a bow rake (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rake_%28tool%29) to help distribute the mulch evenly. I split 27 cubic feet of garden soil between these two square spaces, creating 4 raised rows for each of these spaces.
The 8 feet by 4 feet rectangle required 10 cubic feet of wood bark mulch and 3 cubic feet of garden soil, which formed 1 raised row.
I then planted seeds into each row and watered the rows using the “mist” setting. I’m hoping that things will start growing in the coming weeks! I will thin the seedlings as needed at that time.
This project is doable for one person – as I did – but it takes some time. I purchased the supplies over two weekends, and installed the garden over two additional weekends. I took several resting periods every hour and drank plenty of water throughout, to make sure that I was in comfortable condition, and worked on the project during late afternoons, when it was cooler. This is a very labor-intensive project so any extra hands will certainly reduce the time it takes to enjoy your new (and hopefully prolific) garden!
Filed under: Gardening, How To | Tagged: bow rake, fruit, fruits, garden design, Gardening, gardening tools, gopher, gophers, How To, raised row bed garden, raised row garden, seed, seeds, vegetables | 1 Comment »