Garden Project 2021: Raised Beds

in #gardening2 years ago

Hello Strangers! I am currently recovering from cholecystectomy, which, I am not gonna lie, was my scariest experience yet. So far so good. At least, I woke up. The doctor and nurses made my experience as comfortable as possible and I was sent home the next day. Still, looks like I will be out of commission for at least a month before I can do any more gardening work. It makes me sad, but such is life.


However, today I want to share with you one of the projects that I managed to complete to some level already. I built three new raised beds this year! I sourced all of the materials locally or remotely with only a couple of things that needed picking up in person with minimal contact. I was quite lucky with the quality of all my materials as well. Here is how it all came together!

Each box is 1 meter wide, 2 meters long, and 30 centimeters tall. Each plank is 4.7 centimeters wide. I felt it was ideal as I can easily reach into the box and do weeding or tending the plants while sitting on the edge of the box. They are untreated wood as I don’t want to risk any chemicals leaching into my soil or plants.

All three boxes found their home in the big field where they will have full sun all day long. The vertical planks provide extra stability. My giant collection of cardboard boxes came in handy. I stripped them of all plastic and placed them at the bottom of each box on top of the grass. I did not dig the grass out, because some gardeners say it would only encourage more growth, so instead, I am trying the smothering technique.

When it comes to filling the boxes, there are many methods to do it. I decided to not fill mine with just soil but used old tree branches and old plant material right at the bottom. Followed by leaf mulch. These will break down over time and will become part of the soil.

“Hi, we were wondering what is this peat moss or something else? It is so dark!” Two elderly ladies stopped by as I was working away by my new beds. Turns out they saw my pile of black soil from a distance and came to investigate. Good soil is popular in the village full of hobby gardeners. It was lovely to speak to them too and share some tips about gardening. I hope the soil will perform as well as it looks. It is processed, meaning most of the rocks and plant roots are removed from it, so it was easy to add a big layer of it on top of the leaf mulch in each box.

Water retention is essential in the raised beds since they can dry out quite quickly. So my next layer in my soil build was neutralized peat moss. Peat moss tends to soak up moisture and water like a sponge. This should help my beds stay moist longer and keep my plants happy.

Next layer - horse manure. Extra nutrients to the soil, even though the soil itself appears to be rich. I don’t think there is too much when it comes to the richness of the soil.

Last, but not least, some fine pinewood mulch. This should also help with water retention and the arability of the soil in the beds. Once that was added, I did a good mixing of all the layers from the soil level up. I feel pretty good about it. I hope my plants will like this mixture I’ve made for them.

Finally, I added some thicker mulch outside the edges of each box, to keep the grass from trying to find its way in. I might add another layer of it later.

The final result! ^^ I can’t put in words how happy these made me!

And I even managed to sow some seeds in them! Bunch of different salad leaves, spinach, kale, basil, chamomile, radishes, arugula, asparagu, and parsley! I might add more herbs and flowers in the boxes as they progress.

The new gooseberry and blackcurrant bushes!

The sad news was that my lavender plants are no longer. My theory is that their time was up, the winter colds were harsher this year, and also the soil and the location were not ideal for them. They served well and I still have the dried flowers. I thanked each plant on their way to the composting pile. I am not sure if I will manage to plant new plants this year. I will surely miss them.

I planted rhubarbs in their place.

My tiny garden is having a transformation from the herb garden to the flower garden. It is hard to manage all the snails trying to eat all my leafy greens that usually grew here. Plus, I am still not convinced about the nearby pollution in this area. So the change was needed.

The greenhouse is ready for seedlings! I sowed cabbages here while tomato seedlings are not ready to move in.

Strawberry beds. Here you can see how having boxes potentially would have kept the grass away. It is so sneaky. I constantly need to adjust the ends of these beds or the grass takes over rather quickly.

And here are my seedlings I am growing indoors for now. Some leeks, a variety of tomatoes, and bell peppers! ^^ Every day they get stronger and stronger. A couple of weeks, and they will be ready for the greenhouse or at least transplanting in bigger containers.

It was a bummer to have surgery at the time of the growing season beginning, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. I will make sure to heal up properly before doing anything that requires physical work even if it means I will have a late start for some things in my garden. At the same time, I am happy I will have at least the ingredients for salads soon.

How are your gardening projects so far?

Song of the day: Agust D - Moonlight

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I know absolutely nothing about gardening \o\ but the best part is learning. I'm collecting a bunch of material for a composting, then I'll pick a place at the ranch to start the gardening journey. Do you have any chickens there? Are they helpful? I don't plan to use any pesticides crap

Organic all the way! ^^

I don't have any chickens unfortunately. In future I would love to have them though, and maybe couple of smaller farm animals, but the issue with having animals or even birds is that they require constant care and that would mean that either I would have to find someone to take care of them while I wander the face of the earth or I could not do any wandering and that would not be so great since I still want to see a bit more of the world while that is still possible. That's a project maybe when I get older or like I said I could hire someone to take care of them while I am gone.

I do think that if you have someone there to watch them when you will be wandering again, then they will be very beneficial to your farm. And fresh eggs every day! Hehe. Just make sure the hunter birds don't get to them and have a field day xD

You will have a blast with learning about gardening trust me, once you grow your first produce, you will be hooked! It feels nice to reap the fruits of your labor.

Oh, yeah, animals do have us occupied. I hope that this new ranch has no predators (the old one had, the 'southern brazilian' type of wild cat or something). This:

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It sucks that I too want to wander a little more, but there are so many restrictions that I'll certainly end up in jail or something. How's Covid where you live?

Aww girl I am happy that you are in good health, that whole surgery sounds scary. I hope that you will recover well and get back to your normal routine🤗

You have a lovely garden, so sorry to see your lavender fade away. When I saw these raised beds I instantly thought of Jake and Nicole offgrid, a cute couple trying to live offgrid in Canada. Looking forward to see the progress!

Thank you so much @creativemary! I am just so happy to be home. Trying to take it really slowly and not to get too excited about improvements as the days go by so that I don't hurt myself. I hope to do something creative soon since sitting at the desk is now becoming easier.

The day I came back from hospital all the trees and flowers seemed to have exploded in the size, the leaves and flowers, dandelions everywhere. I can't explain how happy that moment is for me, even my seedlings on the windows indoors doubled the size. Will keep the updates coming! Hugs

Oooh I think that the garden prepared itself to greet you. What a sight to have lots of dandelions! Take your time and I am sure that slowly you will restore your powers! HUGS!

I am very interested in gardening, but as I don't have space to plant, I am trying to grow some hydroponic crops, let's see if I can get them. The potato is also possible to plant in small gallons, I want to encourage myself with this project.
Your planting is really cool!

Thank you for your comment @cryptoxicate!

Oh I hope those work out for you! It is so lovely to just pick up some fresh greens and herbs when cooking. Hopefully in future you will have your gardening space too!

I also have thought about trying some alternative ways of planting potatoes. My idea was to build a potato tower, but will see if I will manage in time.

I wish you best of luck with all your plants and many yummy meals that incorporate them :)

Song of the Grey:

"The Garden Of Earthly Delights" - Apocalypse Orchestra

The bagpipes! ^^ Brilliant! I should play this to my plants, I am certain they would enjoy this as much as I did! Thank you Gandalf!

Those boxes look great - I am in the market for some too, though I don't think I will manage this year - perhaps if we can travel next, you can come build mine :D

Pity about the lavender, my little ones didn't make it either - though I admittedly didn't do a very good gob of tending them.

How are your gardening projects so far?

First day yesterday, but this year looks like it is going to be mostly house stuff again.....

And damn it - The thing I wanted to say first I forgot!

Glad the procedure went well - does that explain any other symptoms? My wife had her gallbladder out when she was about 18 or so and while it is better than it was, she has to watch what she eats still.

Yea, think the weird pains I had was all due to it. It is too early to tell how it will go diet wise. They gave me a list of foods I can eat and things I should avoid at all cost. It could be only month of that or years. Depending how my body will adopt to the new situation. So far, I am eating only allowed foods and will continue to do so for at least a month and then start experimenting if I can eat other things without problems.

I for sure would be upset if I could never again eat my favorite chocolate xD It would suck.

The strangest part to me still was anesthesia. The light switch effect. One moment you are there. The next, absolutely nothing, then someone flips a switch and I am back. So weird.

Oh no, no chocolate? Maybe with time your body will adjust to it and you will be able to eat what you like

Aww I hope so. Same goes with traveling and enjoying local foods would be problematic, and that is just something I hope I will not have to miss out on as soon as world opens up again.

Travelling will be a little bit different, enjoying local foods... I hope that you will be able to, good food is sometimes just like balm for the soul

Thanks! Oh I would gladly help, I love building stuff. It may not always look perfect tho xD

Did you cover them with something during the winter? Also could depend on the variety, Spanish lavender is not doing too well with cold, while English lavender can actually survive.

Oh! I have some catching up to do with your posts. I saw the cute baby bunny awwww.

Did you cover them with something during the winter?

Of course!

Does snow count?

I saw the cute baby bunny awwww.

It came very close to ending up living with us :D

Nope xD Snow does not count ahaha. My English lavender survived until now without covering, but then again winters before seemed milder, if I remember correctly.

Hope it will be ok, it looked so scared in the pictures.

Gardening is a fun thing to do, although sometimes it can be difficult. But it is much more enjoyable

Gardening is mostly learning by trials and errors. I am still learning, it is a never-ending journey of learning, but it brings me so much joy, seeing the plants happy and flourishing is the best feeling. It is not for everyone, not always, but we all love having fresh ingredients in our foods on our tables right? :)

Get well soon. You actually make me want to do this and I might just do it. I love the idea of the raised beds and makes it much simpler plus it would keep or help keep the bugs away.

Thank you so much! Step by step! I hope I will be quickly back on my feet :)

That would be awesome! I would love to see your raised beds too! It is really simple. Setting up takes a bit of work, but after that it is a cake walk with a little touch of water. And you are absolutely right about bugs and other critters too. Our neighbor cats constantly dig around in boxes such as these, as well as birds, so covering them with frost covers is so easy. No more problems with those. You can even build them little roofs and cover them with frost cover and protect your seedlings in early springs when it is still cold or from caterpillars later in the summer.

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Hello kitty! Pets

Do you like my garden so far? I will make sure to say some meows to Pucina (my kitty) from you!

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Hope you've recovered fully by now and your garden is doing well. Take care . From a stranger.

I am glad you made it through the surgery okay. I hope you are feeling better and that you have a rapid and easy recovery!

Every year your garden posts make gardening look more and more fun and fulfilling. It inspires me to want to make a garden too.

Sadly where I currently live, and with my plans so uncertain as to how long and how often I'll even be around, and my mental condition seemingly stuck on "breakdown" until quite recently, it's just really not that practical for me to start one just yet, but I really want to. I was even thinking about starting some kind of indoor mini-garden, since I can't really mess with what's outside in this place, but even that seemed an impossible task only a few weeks ago, and now that I'm finally feeling a bit better, I suppose it is probably too late. It's just me here after all now, and whenever I will finally be able to disappear for a while, there'll be no one to look after anything.

I think it is really cool how you built up the beds, putting the cardboard on the bottom and mixing in the layers of things that will break down. It has a very naturalistic permaculture-ish vibe to it and that stuff really interests me (not that I really know the first thing about it... yet). I think it's cool how we can provoke and leverage environmental processes like that. I hope I can do cool garden stuff like that someday.

You made me cry a little when you wrote:

I thanked each plant on the way to the compost pile.

I am sure they appreciated your gratitude. I don't know if plants have feelings the same way humans do, but I like to imagine they are on some level able to perceive and experience comfort, peacefulness, and appreciation. I've read about how people talking to their plants has been reported to make them grow better. Some philosophers now even believe that all matter may have the building blocks for consciousness, and the manifestation of a single conscious entity is a matter of organisation and locality. That is to say... you are conscious because all the "consciousness-stuff" in the matter that makes up your brain is linked together. Of course, who knows how right they are? But I find it fascinating to imagine about these things.

Certainly you have a wonderful variety there of delicious foods to come. If I were you, I would be most excited about the strawberries and the rhubarb... mostly together... in a pie. Yum...

Thank you! Well, you know me, I have stuff to do and places to see, so I hope my body will comply and heal up quickly.

Aww. But aren't there like different irrigation systems that can be programmed to water plants from like a container of water remotely? There's got to be something like that out there. I am sure you could manage. It is never too late for growing plants with the right soil mix and grow lights. They even manage it in space, you can do it too! Come on! Hugs

I have no knowledge about permaculture either, perhaps, that is a project for future and to learn along the way by doing. About the use of boxes I learned from gardeners on YouTube. They seem to be super active there and understandably so. Their experiences are super valuable.

I am 100% sure that plants sense the energy we put out in the world and feed off of it or if the energy is not right, they will never flourish. I try to keep that in mind when I tend my plants and to leave the negativity out of the garden as much as possible. At the same time if I have a chaos in my mind, working in the garden sets it right, and helps me to calm down, understand what is what. I am not sure about all matter and stuff.

That would make a nice jam too ^^ I can't wait.

An irrigation system... so basically a robo-lem to water the plants while I would be elsewhere? You know, I hadn't really thought about that. I guess that really, the only thing a plant really needs is light, nutrients, and water... I'll have to think about that! I would only be worried about something going wrong... like if it leaked, or somehow the lights caught fire... hmm. There's got to be a way to make it work. I'll think about it.

The general topic of engineering self-sustaining systems just sets my mind on some kind of fire. I love that we are able to set certain things in motion with the knowledge that feedback loops will keep the entire system in check. I've only started watching a few videos here and there, but in general permaculture just seems like the application of that pattern to gardening. I think it's super cool to create things that gain a life of their own.

While it's no self-sustaining food forest or anything, the idea of your garden boxes doubling as a self-contained compost pile for years to come, with those leaves and sticks down there on the bottom, you know... it seems awesome in that sort of way. :)