Easy Raised Garden Beds

One of my gardening goals for this year is to get my oldest three children more involved.  I want them to learn how to grow their own food, and not just eat what dad grows.  I think it would be sad for them to grow up without any ideas how to grow plants, and think that it is a hard thing that only a select few with “green thumbs” can do.

Since I needed to build three garden beds, I wanted to make beds that were quick and easy to put together.  Fortunately, I saw a product at Home Depot that happened to do exactly what I wanted. It is an 8in x 8in x 6in block with slots that a 2×6 board can slide into.  There is a small hole in the middle of the bricks that a piece of rebar can go into to help hold the bricks together or stack them to the ground.  Each brick costs $2.97 at my local store.

PlanterWallBlockI also bought my redwood for the sides of the bed at Home Depots.  I wanted each bed to be 4ft by 3ft.  Of course, Home Depot doesn’t sell boards in those sizes so they have to be cut down.  Home Depot does do limited cutting for free, mostly to make the boards fit into customer’s cars.  I bought 8 foot boards that I had them cut in half for me for the 4 foot side.  I also bought 12 foot boards that I had cut in half for transportation.  I have my own table saw so I cut them into 3 foot sections myself.  I had to pay for one cut at Home Depot, so I paid 75 cents for my wood to be cut.

Getting these blocks and having Home Depot cut the wood for you is an easy way to build a raised garden bed.  If you don’t have the ability or tools to build your own garden bed I highly suggest doing it this way.

Once my boys and I put the beds together, we filled them as close to the Square Foot Garden method as we could.  That is 1/3rd vermiculite, 1/3rd peat, and compost.  Vermiculite is very expensive so I never quite make the 1/3rd on that.

Then I let the boys plan out what would be in their garden beds.  I bought a few new seeds for them in addition to letting them picks seeds from my collection.  We made a grid on paper and wrote out what seeds were going in each square foot.  I want them to remember what what they planted and see the different stages of growth for each type.

corran garden

Corran doesn’t want to grow vegetables because he doesn’t want to eat them.  I grew corn last year in one of my raised beds, and it actually did pretty good.  I picked a blue corn because I liked the color.  We ended up with a number of ears, but they were not particularly edible.  Corran does like corn so he picked a yellow sweet corn to fill most of his bed.

matthias gardenMatthias really likes carrots so he mostly went this those in his bed.  The Madhu Ras Melons are a type of honey melon from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  They are supposed to be from India and grow well in hot dry areas.  Our summers are very dry and tend to be fairly hot.  Hopefully, this melon will do well here.

ian gardenIan’s garden has the most variety.  He wanted to do corn to be like Corran, but does enjoy a few types of vegetables that he really wanted to try to grow.

I was able to plant Ian’s garden about a 5 days before his brothers.  Our weather has been nearly perfect for sprouting seeds so all of his plants have sprouted.  He is very excited about his garden, and the plants that are growing in it.

 

-Joshua

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8 thoughts on “Easy Raised Garden Beds

  1. Lovely to let your sons grow their gardens. They will always remember this. Chinese Lanterns are perennials that spread underground, so after you harvest the “lanterns” you may want to dig them out and put them in a border or they will take over the entire raised bed!

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  2. I was like Corran for most of my life … not much of a vegetable fan. Though I HAVE been adding more veggies to my diet over the years. Some of it has to do with the texture/smell issues from cooking them. Or, at least the way my mom cooked them. I like raw broccoli with ranch dressing now while in the past I’d never have eaten the cooked stuff. Celery and carrots are something else I like raw with a dip. Just find a dip you like. Or even just peanut butter.

    Some of it also has to do with making the dishes myself. I’d never eat commercially prepared coleslaw (fluorescent green funky stuff from KFC is an example) but assembling my own with bagged coleslaw mix and then pouring commercial coleslaw dressing and or making a vinaigrette myself and knowing what’s in it … I LOVED it.

    Don’t give up on veggies for Corran. 🙂

    Great selection on Matthias’ bed. I bet those honey melons will be great. What are Chinese lanterns? I wanted to say they’re a flower but I have no idea. Beets are something I’ve never eaten. Though I cooked and pureed them for making coloured pastas.

    Lucky I Ian going first. He gets to see those green shoots peeking out of the grounds. That’s the best feeling when you go out to check them in the mornings. Beets, cauliflowers (I’ve actually cooked them a couple of ways and they’re GOOD) and FLOWERS. With the loss of bee habitat, I’m always happy to see people adding flowers to their gardens. Especially wild flowers. They sell those mixed packages here … I just don’t have the motivation/energy/physical ability to dig out the back.

    Looking forward to seeing everyone’s veggie gardens.

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