Planning the Perfect Garden; Raised Beds

Planning the Perfect Garden What Kind of Raised Bed
Well, a dream we’ve talked about for years has finally come true: we can finally plan and attempt the vegetable garden we’ve always wanted. After buying our home on a ton of acreage last May, we’ve been excitedly talking about what we want to plant, where we will plant it, and how we want to conquer all of it. We’ve talked to a ton of family members and friends who have raised successful gardens (and not-so-successful gardens) and made mental notes of the wisdom they shared with us.

Unfortunately, I did not write down all of the amazing tips they gave us, and now it’s all jumbled into the vegetable soup that is my brain.

So, in an attempt to spark my memory of things I was told, I’ve been searching and researching through the amazing world of Pinterest to find out what I need to know to get started. Nearly everyone I’ve talked to has suggested that I build raised beds for planting for a multitude of reasons, and since I lack a lot of the equipment (at this point, anyways) for getting the ground ready for sowing directly into the ground, I’m going to go that route. Apparently there are many styles of raised beds, and I’m in the midst of deciding what will be best.

CONCRETE
Concrete Block raised beds seem to have a lot of benefits for me, in that they are fairly cheap to create and I wouldn’t have to attempt actually building anything with wood and nails.

Of course, the concrete blocks are heavy, and certainly aren’t as aesthetically-pleasing as wooden beds, but the holes in the blocks would be fantastic for planting herbs. Another benefit is that concrete block doesn’t rot the way that wood will after a few years.

Maybe I could let the kids paint the outsides of the concrete block to make it look prettier.

WOOD
There’s a variety of ways to build wooden raised beds, varying in expense and the skill needed to build them.

I’ve found great tutorials on how to build a wooden bed cheaply, but the cheaper wood, like Pine, doesn’t last as long as Cedar (the recommended wood choice) which is more expensive. Pressure-treated lumber is a no-no because the chemicals used to treat the wood can leach into the soil and contaminate the plants.
One helpful post I found suggests going to a discount lumber store and get culled wood to save money, so if I go the wooden route, I will be sure to try that.

Another wooden raised bed option is using pallets. I like this idea and will be investigating more, since my husband has access to lost of free pallets at work.

CONTAINERS
There’s always good ole container gardening, by where you use things like large Rubbermaid containers to plant your garden after drilling holes in the bottom. I don’t really want to go this route because, hello, I have A LOT of land and room to plant a garden now, and the containers can be small and restrictive.

It would take a lot of Rubbermaid to create the garden that I want to plant, and those things can be costly if you’re buying quite a few. Plus, Rubbermaid containers aren’t very visually pleasing, and I would prefer it look at least somewhat nice.

There are tons of ways to make a container garden look nicer, but those container options would cost more than building decent wooden beds.

Once I decide for sure on the type of raised beds I will be using it will be time to get the dirt party started! I’ve read that it’s essential to use at least one-third native soil in the mix, one-third compost, and one-third topsoil. At least there’s plenty of free manure around here with all of the cattle for good fertilizer!

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest to keep up with the discoveries I’m making on this journey to gardening bliss!
Herd Management

Have you ever built raised beds? I’d love to hear about your thoughts and experiences either here on this blog post or on the Herd Management Facebook wall!

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