Saturday, February 7, 2015

Re-Claimed Raised Beds for FRESH Flowers and Produce

One of 8 raised beds (filled with dahlias) made from re-claimed stone tiles
 Raised bed gardening and the creative ways people utilize these unique micro-garden spaces continues to grow! As more people get bitten by the gardening bug raised beds provide a much needed solution, especially in small spaces. One or two 4x4 or 4x8  raised beds will provide a small family with seasonal fresh herbs and veggies all summer long. 

It's not too early to start thinking about your growing spaces for this spring and summer! All that snow will be melted before you know it! If you've got a barn, garage, garden shed or car port you can get started on the construction now!

Below is a photo of our raised beds " under construction" three years ago. We happened to have quite a stash of 12x12 discontinued tiles stored in our basement ( from when my hubby sold imported stone) that came in quite handy for creating the 'walls' of the beds.


Here are my guy's attaching the L brackets to the two sides of 2 x 4 x 12 lengths of board and the two 4' end pieces.

 
Once the frames were built they attached the grade stakes to each corner and drove them into the ground. No need for digging up turf or soil. Simply lay down cardboard or newspaper over the ground and water it slightly or cover it with leaves. We did all three before we added the garden soil. Laying down paper vs garden fabric creates an invitation to worms which you want plenty of in your garden soil! 

CORRECTION: We used 2x2 grade stakes instead of 1x2 for more stability.
 If you are a frugal gardener like me, building your raised beds from re-claimed materials is a great way to lighten your footprint on good old mother earth and keep some extra dough in your wallet for those high quality GMO FREE seeds you'll be purchasing. I love the idea of using metal roofing material for the sides too!

The list of what you can grow in one 4x8 raised bed is limitless, really. You can grow annuals, vegetables, herbs, perennials, even roses and shrubs!
You control the amount of sunlight by where you site your raised bed and you also have control over the soil. We placed all 8 our ours in the largest, sunniest place in our backyard for maximum growing potential for my cut flowers, herbs, and veggies. I purchased a mix of 50 % loam and 50% organic matter. It took nine yards of loam to fill them all the first year. When the soil level drops, you can easily order in some more fill and top them off!

Here they are sprouting with new life in Mid June! 

If you're just starting out with flowers,choose easy annuals such as zinnias, sunflowers and cosmos. All can be sewn directly in your raised bed after the danger of frost ( in your garden zone ) has passed. 


If you're limited to one or two raised beds don't forget about vertical gardening! Cucumbers,
pole beans, snap peas will provide you with fresh veggies at little garden-space expense!

Just be careful who you let in to your tomato patch!



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