I made these vegetable beds two years under the guidance of my handyman. We have four of them and each one measures 8′ by 4′. They are 2′ tall. You can see how we made these from my previous blog post on how to build raised vegetable beds.
The secret to successful growing is in the soil. One of the advantages of raised beds is that you control the soil that goes into them. I put some very organic soil for vegetable gardens and had it delivered by a truck. And yes, I ordered way too much. But that’s another story.
Every year when you replant it is important to add nutrients back into your soil. I used a product called Amends. I bought it at Home Depot.
I estimated I would need one and a half bags per vegetable bed. These are heavy but they only cost about $6.50 each.
You need at least two inches on top. I ended up with about four inches. After you have poured the amend on top, mix it thoroughly with at least six inches of your existing soil. At that point, I checked the sprinkler system to make sure it was working ok. (The vegetable bed watering system is attached to our main sprinklers and consists mostly of a drip system.)
It took me about four hours to clean out the beds and ammend the soil.
Next, I went and bought my plants. Every year I plant a lot of tomato plants. This year I bought 14 different varieties. I love tomatoes and I really hope to make homemade tomato sauce this year. I also bought basil, strawberries, cucumbers, zucchini, romaine lettuce, cilantro, dill, sage, oregano, parsley, and sage. I still have room in one of the beds for more vegetables.
Once I bought the plants I laid them out to determine placement and spacing.
I made eight tomato cages when I made my beds and they have held up very well. I also bought four more wire cages.
It is important to move your tomato plants from one bed to another each year. I also suggest you put the tomato cages in the beds (or garden) before you plant your tomatoes. It is easier to space out the cages first. I also add about two teaspoons of Epsom salt in the hole before I plant my tomato plants. Then I placed basil plants between the tomato plants.
The planting is the easiest part.
I had a lot of strawberries left from last year. But I wanted to add more. I mean, who doesn’t want lots of strawberries?
Now the fun begins. I will fertilize the plants every few weeks. I use about 1/2 ounce of fish emulsion with a gallon of water and water the plants. I will also sprinkle some more Epsom salts around each tomato plant once a month. Of course, the type of soil you have will require different fertilizers and schedules so be sure to do plenty of research before you start fertilizing.
My last stop is to do something about composting. Compost is a great natural fertilizer for your vegetable garden.I just ordered a one gallon counter top compost bin. It is attractive and a great way to store several days worth of vegetable peels, coffee grounds, eggshells, and other compost material. This gives you fewer trips to the garden composter. I will order a compost bin this weekend after I do more research.
I am so excited about my garden this year. I don’t have much of a green thumb but I am going to spend a few minutes every day in my garden just to make sure things are going as planned. I think in the past that has been my downfall. I think they call it “garden neglect”. Garden neglect is when you plant the plants but don’t prune and harvest your vegetables on schedule. I am not going to let that happen this year!