Saturday, April 15, 2006

New Garden Bed

One of the things on my to-do list yesterday was to buy lumber and make a new garden bed in the back yard. Most of my vegetable gardening is done at a community garden. There I have a plot that's about 25 by 25 feet. Of course that's not enough for me and I'm on the list for another plot. There are many people on the waiting list for their first plot so I won't be getting extra space there soon. Because the farm that owns it, tills it each spring, it's not open for gardening until the about first of May. Cold weather crops can be planted earlier than that. My back yard has a lot of shade, but I noticed that in the very middle there are about 6.5 hours of sun. I decided that I'd try making a bed or two in the the very middle. I made the frame from 2x6 inch lumber that I put together with screws. It's 8 feet long and 42 inches wide. Part of me wanted to make it 48 inches wide to have more space and not to waste lumber, but I think the narrower width will be easier for me to work. I figure a well weeded 42 inch bed will grow more than a weedy 48 inch bed. My plan was just to build it and turn over the soil in it. I took the first photo whan I was done with my task. I planed to fill it with compost the next day and then sow and transplant. In the late afternoon I heard that it was going to lightly rain yesterday evening and into this morning. That would be perfect transplanting and sowing weather! I rushed to fill it with compost, that I hauled there from the composter one 5 gallon pail at a time and then transplanted broccoli, parsley, and lettuce from the cold frame. I also sowed some beets and broccoli raab. It was now past supper time and about to rain so I rolled some chicken wire around it to discourage the dogs or chickens from destroying it. Last night was warm with a gentle rain. The transplants look like they are off to a good start and I never had to water the seeds. I'm now eyeing my front yard as potential bed space.
Oh, if you are wondering why my back yard is "landscaped' in mulch hay, it's to cut down on the amount of mud that the dogs bring into the house. The crabgrass that makes up the lawn of the back yard doesn't come up until late May so the yard is bare now. In late May I'll remove the hay into the mulch pile and start mowing whatever grows along with the crab grass and it will actually look like a lawn. It's very had to grow regular grass in a yard that is a play yard for young dogs. I've discovered that it works best to just mow whatever grows. This it the first year I've put the hay out. It's helping quite a bit with the mud. I'll be curious to see if it adds any seeds to the lawn or if the chicken have eaten them all.


  1. Built and planted - great job! I think you are right about the width. I was out today trying to decide between 3 & 4 feet. 42 inches sounds perfect. As it has been raining, all I could do was look around & pull weeds. Too wet to dig. Nice work with the coldframe too.

  2. I ended up doing my beds 48" but they don't have sides, they just kind of mound on the ground. So far, so good, but I think tall plants like pole beans are going to give me fits.

    I put down straw in our yard, too, to keep the dogs from tracking in so much mud. Now my kitchen floor has mud and straw :P