Today, my husband TJ built the raised beds that will go into our garden. During construction, they are helping to contain our wild man, kind of like a giant wooden pack-n-play. Once completed and placed in the garden, the beds will be filled with compost and planted with the heirloom seeds we are starting on our sun porch.
The beds are made of untreated cedar and will last for many years. The beds are 22-inches tall. The following are the many advantages of raised bed gardening;
– Provide good soil drainage
– Allow room for growing root vegetables
– Protect the plants from dogs and toddler predation
– Easier to weed
– Easier on the back when planting
– Provide a nice place for garden visitors to sit
– Toddlers cannot fall into them
The bottom of the beds are open and they will be placed over a commercial grade landscape fabric that will provide a barrier to grass and unwanted weeds. The landscape fabric will be covered with cedar mulch. Other options for covering the weed barrier and/or planting in between raised beds include grass or gravel. Since grass needs a lot of maintenance and gravel is not very kid-friendly, the cedar mulch seems to be the best option.
The raised beds took TJ an entire weekend to build. We got help from a friend to fill the beds with compost, which took almost a day. The cost of the wood was around $900, the 10 cubic yards of compost (@$21/cubic yard) to fill the beds was $210. The 6 cubic yards of cedar mulch (@ $35/cubic yard) was $210. There was lots of upfront cost, but, the payoff will come this summer when we are eating fresh, homegrown food from our garden.
In the backyard, there will be four 4×6 beds and four 4×8 beds. TJ built one long raised bed to be placed in our concrete driveway just for “his” pepper plants. Since peppers need lots of hot temperatures to grow and for some species be hot the reflection from the concrete will help to provide some additional heat. In the front yard, there will be two 4×6 beds to grow sprawling plants like melons, cucumbers, pumpkins, zucchini, and squash. The raised beds will be placed at the top of a little hill we have in our front yard. The plan is to have the creeping plants cascade over the sides of the raised beds so the hill can act as a trellis supporting the plants downslope.