Raised beds in 1-2-3

Raised bed gardens have an extremely orderly look to them and the walkways won’t become overgrown with crops. As our garden gets lush the pathways disappear. We make wider paths but it has been a pretty consistent garden issue for us.

So we decided on raised beds for the garden this year, in an attempt to also comply with our joint  issues of being square. We have tried owning round and oval things but it makes us uncomfortable.  It is just not us. We are square.

First we needed a straight line from the garage to the green house. Easily done with a keen eye and a length of rope, and a little re-bar and sledge-hammer. This will be juniper log lined to define the edge of the grassy area.

Getting the straight line from the garage to the green house with rope.
Getting the straight line from the garage to the green house with rope.

Next, the 2 x 10 planks were cut to length and screwed together. A 2 x 2 brace was pounded into each corner. Then the leveling of the top side of each bed was required. This way and that, until all is level from bed to bed and securely screwed to it’s corner brace. Lots of lifting, lowering, shoveling and raking to accommodate but it would drive us nuts if they were all out of whack.

We then commenced the never-ending shoveling , that is our life, to fill each bed. Wheel barrow and dump trailer loads until each was filled.

I never realized shoveling was a skill. I thought it was just something people did when needed. I couldn’t have been more wrong. When done en-mass it is a definite art. Start taking from the top of the pile ,none of that foot on shovel thing I naturally think is needed, we’re not digging a hole but scooping soil from a pile. Working your way down in even swoops, sweeping the ground to get the remains, while leaving the grass… practice builds core muscles and shoulders. Like the skill of backing up a trailer, for which I have not yet perfected but continue to attempt with varying levels of success. Sometimes the tractor is simply stopped and my hands thrown up for help. Luckily help is always lovingly waiting , to tease me later no doubt, but waiting and willing none-the-less. I am a country girl in progress.

Filling the beds with soil.
Filling the beds with soil.
Day 1 completed.
Day 1 completed.

Day one saw the completion of a 4 x 16 bed planted with 3 types of onions and a 5 piece arrangement for herbs. When the weather permits they come out of the green house. Finally we have a home for the weather vane.

Day two was more of the same, just slower, much slower. We never worry about doing enough in a day. We go until it hurts, then a bit more, and then we are done. We feel particularly alive being worn out from our progress. Luckily as we get old(er) that will not take as much as it does now.

Day 2 beds ready to plant.
Day 2 beds ready to plant.

A 4  x 2 bed with a 4 x 12, then a 4 x 16 , the 4 x 2 and 4 x 12 again followed by another 5 piece.  We are adding a wire mesh “hoop” to grow our squash and cucumbers vertically between the 12 ft and 16 ft beds, little tunnels of food. We do love tunnels. Also straight wire fencing for the peas.

These are filled with soil and ready to plant next week when, hopefully, the single digit night temperatures end for another season.

Day three completed the basil bed on the north side of the house as basil dislikes the 10-2 sun and this spot seems to meet that requirement. I can reach the entire bed to regularly trim the plants for immediate use or freezing in wax paper rolls for winter use.The rain barrel is installed and ready to use again this year. Basil prefer watering from beneath, no wet leaves…these things we have learned.


This completed the necessary raised beds for food this year. There are plans to do 2 more sets for next year but we need to think of more things to plant (gardener problems). I want a flower cutting garden and there is always more veg and herb to try.

A day of rest is in order, they are few and far between and always well appreciated.


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