Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Setting Up a Raised Bed Garden Plot

My birthday was last month and I told my husband that all I wanted was wood and dirt. Well, that and some sweat on his part! We have a nice sized backyard that is great for sitting and enjoying a book and a good cup of coffee or tea. It isn't however that great for planing a garden. The majority of the yard spends most of the day in the shade. The back patio and the area just past that get enough sun and I have had luck the past couple of years growing tomatoes, herbs and a couple of other things in pots on the patio. Just past the patio is a basketball goal that we don't use. I decided that area would make a good place for a raised bed. For my birthday, I wanted a raised bed garden built and then filled with dirt. Originally we had planned a cookout and my FIL and BIL were going to help Kip get the dirt and help him fill my garden bed. We were still able to have the cookout, but the dirt was going to have to wait until the following weekend. I was a little bummed at first, but decided that it was for the best because it would allow me to layer my bed.

Here is the box that Kip built for me:

I don't have a tiller, so I broke up the ground with a shovel and hoe. It took me a while, but I was so excited about getting it done so everything would be ready when the dirt arrived.

After tearing up all the grass and weeds and breaking up the dirt I covered that area with cardboard. For my reading, I saw this done on several sites and should help with weed control, help retain moisture and as is breaks down, adds some compost material.

On top of the cardboard went a layer of newsprint.

And on top of the newsprint, I added some kitchen scraps mixed with compost and manure. I do compost everything that I can so the compost came from my compost bin that is on the back part of our yard. Adding in the layer of kitchen scraps will allow the scraps to decompose and provide fertilizer for the plants. 

And finally on top of that is a load of garden soil.

Here is my finished birthday garden box, full of dirt and the first plants. Someone had told me a few years ago that they used pinwheels in their containers to help keep the birds away. I have these four that are a pretty good size that I bought at a Dollar Tree and then several more  that are smaller but made from a metallic material. Both of them spin freely and make a small amount of noise which supposedly helps scare away birds. I am not sure how well it works, since I still battle the birds for my berries, but I kind of like them.

When everything really starts growing I will update with new photos!

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