Thursday, June 16, 2011

Large raised garden bed

Earlier in the week we introduced you to our strawberries, and now we would like to show our biggest raised bed. Hopefully we can help you with ideas about ways you could maximize space and prevent mistakes in your own raised beds.

This particular bed is 3 feet by 10 feet and constructed of 2x12 untreated lumber. We placed heavy weed block under it and also put hardware cloth under it to prevent weeds and gophers. Our soil mix came from City Farmers Nursery.

Our biggest raised bed
We added tall stakes all around the bed to use to help support the plants. We added a trellis on the south side of the bed, but we should have put it on the north side, to reduce the shading the plants on the trellis will cause for the other plants in the bed. We are going to see how it goes in our garden this time around, and if shading does become too much of a problem, we may have to move it to the north side.

Cucumber plants climbing up trellis
I used #10 eye screws that I screwed into the box and then used sisal twine to weave the trellis.

Once we built the box, prevented weeds and gophers, and hauled umpteen loads of dirt to fill the box, we were free to start planting. We also added the appropriate amount of FoxFarm fertilizer to the soil mix. I planned in advance what should or could go where to maximize the variety and yield I could get out of the area.

The bed with sections drawn out for different plants and ready for seeds April 6, 2011
We tried to start some of our own seeds indoors in advance but had limited success so I decided to try putting some seeds straight in the bed in the sections I had designated for them. We had some success with this and some failure. We ended up filling in with 4 inch plant starts that we bought where we didn't get seeds. We are planning a small greenhouse so we can have more success with seed starting in the future and start all of our plants from seed. We are also learning how to save some of our own seed.

The east end of the bed
There are several Japanese cucumbers climbing on the trellis. In front are sugar baby watermelons, a very small variety, but the plants will still continue to spill over the edge of the bed and occupy the space I am standing in to take the photo. Behind the watermelon is a variety of peppers, and there are two different eggplants behind those.

The west end of the bed
The tomato on the left is a Roma and on the right is a Better Boy. There are some beans and more cucumbers on the side and in back. There's a six pack of marigolds that I plan to disperse throughout the entire garden to brighten up the place and hopefully attract more beneficial insects. Behind the marigold is a tomatillo and the pink flower is an Aster.

Trellis on the west end of the bed, the green beans have been struggling along. Frijole is not impressed.
The back of the bed
There are several lemon cucumbers and more Japanese cucumbers starting to find their way up the trellis, and there are some more green beans, struggling to take off about halfway down the bed. I put another cucumber in the pot at the far end to take advantage of the trellis. Growing cucumbers on the trellis saves space and keeps them off the ground so they have less chance of getting bug bitten or damaged.

There are endless possibilities for planting a bed this size and it can be a lot of fun. I am going to try and squeeze some lettuce in between some of the taller plants, near the trellis, where there is space and a little shade.

Gidget doesn't seem happy about this post


  1. Wow Gidget!

    It's amazing that you have that many plants in such a small area. I love the idea of the raised beds. I will be counting on your advise over the next several months as I have plans to start growing in my back yard soon. Once we get the fence up I have free reign. If I send you some photos maybe you could help me with the layout?

    As always the kitties are adorable. Judging by the look on Senior Frijole's face you better hope the beans kick into gear quick!

    -Pirate Kitty

  2. This is just the MOST gorgeous bed!! I never, ever get tired of looking at photos of your magical garden and reading about your latest adventures!

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